(CNN) – The Iowa Republican Party is standing behind the Ames straw poll despite growing party discontent including the conservative National Review magazine calling for a quick end to the event.
The National Review called for the "slaying" of the Ames straw poll in an editorial posted on its website Monday, characterizing the event as a "mythic creature."
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"Ames does more damage than justice to the nominating process, and ensures that the country's first view of the Grand Old Party's latest presidential crop is through a distorted lens," wrote the National Review editors in a post Monday.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad spurred discussion of the future of the Ames poll last week, telling the Wall Street Journal the straw poll has "outlived its usefulness." Since Branstad's comments a growing voice outside of Iowa's GOP has advocated for the party to throw out the tradition.
"Ames voters are literally bought and paid for – candidates purchase tickets for their supporters and bus them into town for the straw poll – but the ticket concessions line the pockets of the Iowa Republican party," the editorial continued.
The editorial said though the poll is supposed to test a candidate's organizational abilities, more often than not, it has failed to identify the Republican nominee, pointing to former Republican presidential candidate and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann who poured vast resources into the 2011 straw poll and won only to receive 5% of the vote in Iowa's January caucus.
Republicans within the state, however, are tightening their grip on the tradition that raises serious cash for the state's GOP committee.
Iowa GOP chairman A.J. Spiker said in a statement following Branstad's comments the Ames poll is "possibly the best way for a presidential campaign to organize" for the Iowa caucuses, and the state's Republican committee favors keeping the poll, according to a report in the Des Moines Register.
But despite calls for ditching the poll, as Spiker points out, it's not Brandstad or any Republican outside the Hawkeye State's poll to ditch.
"Whether or not to have the Iowa Straw Poll is a matter that will be decided in 2015 by the State Central Committee and the presidential candidates. Any talk prior to then is simply premature," he said Monday.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht doubled-down on the governor's sentiment last week telling CNN Branstad believes the straw poll is a "disservice to Iowa Republicans in that it discourages top-tier candidates from attending, and therein threatens their participation in the caucuses."
Albrecht pointed to Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee in 2008, and Rudy Giuliani, also a Republican candidate, as examples where the straw poll threatened their performance in the caucuses.
This year's Republican nominee Mitt Romney came in fourth, behind businessman Herman Cain in third and Texas Rep. Ron Paul in second in last year's straw poll. Romney opted out of the 2011 straw poll after 2007 when he poured many resources into the event only to suspend his presidential campaign shortly after the Iowa caucuses in February of the next year.
"The governor instead wants to have events that strengthen the caucuses, NOT weaken them," Albrecht continued, adding "Democrats don't have a straw poll, and they have had all their candidates participate in the last two contested caucuses. Republicans can't say the same."
Branstad told reporters in a weekly news conference that he would favor a series of regional events instead of the poll to raise money for Iowa's Republican Party and push candidates into the national spotlight, according to the Des Moines Register.
Iowa, considered by many to be a politically imperative state, draws potential presidential contenders in early to prove their chops and mingle with Iowa political elites to fast-track a career into the national spotlight.
President Barack Obama was thrust into the White House trajectory in 2008 after his victory over Democratic challengers in the primaries. And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, speculated to have 2016 aspirations, attended Branstad's annual birthday fundraiser over the weekend, possibly underscoring the state's continued importance in the early political process.
CNN's Dana Davidsen, Kevin Liptak and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.