(CNN)-Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is seeking the GOP nomination for president in 2012 but has opted out of the critical Iowa straw poll held in Ames.
"Our campaign has made the decision to not participate in any straw polls, whether it's in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else," campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement.
Romney also sought the nomination in 2008 and invested heavily in Iowa. He won the 2007 Ames Straw Poll, but former Gov. Mike Huckabee finished close at his heels.
Huckabee's success at the Iowa straw poll is largely credited with helping him get the attention and support needed to secure a win at the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus five months later, when he defeated Romney despite his early investment in the state.
And though Romney insisted he was "fully committed to Iowa and the process" in May, his history with the state may have played role in the decision not to compete.
"We respect the straw poll process," Rhoades said. "In the last presidential campaign we were both strengthened as an organization and learned some important lessons by participating in them.
But tea leaves from campaigns past say sitting out of the Ames Straw Poll may not spell disaster. Arizona Sen. John McCain did not participate in the 2007 event yet still went on to win the GOP nomination for president.
Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn responded to Romney's announcement in a written statement.
"I'll leave it to the pundits and voters to assess the wisdom of skipping an event of tremendous importance to tens of thousands of Iowa Republicans and caucusgoers," he said.
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