August 12th, 2007
03:03 PM ET
16 years ago

First to fall?

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN)- The Ames straw poll is over. The candidates are leaving town, some with ribbons of victory and others with tough decisions to make about whether to continue their presidential campaigns.

We’re about to depart Iowa, but before we do we thought we’d take a look at which candidates may not be candidates much longer.

The straw poll in Ames serves a very important purpose. It traditionally helps narrow the field of GOP presidential hopefuls and yesterday’s contest is expected to be no exception.

So, here are some observations of what could happen.

Perhaps the candidate most wounded by last night’s vote is former Wisconsin Gov. and Bush cabinet secretary Tommy Thompson. He did not meet the expectations that he set for himself leading up to the poll. Thompson made it clear that Iowa was the key to his campaign. He came in sixth in the straw poll with only 7.3 percent of the vote. No word yet on whether he’ll abandon his quest for the White House.

While Sen. Sam Brownback finished in the top three, he was greatly overshadowed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s surprise second place finish. The Kansas Republican spent a great deal of money on the straw poll and will likely consider leaving the campaign trail to return full time to the Senate.

Even though California Rep. Duncan Hunter finished behind two opponents who did not even participate in the straw poll, there is no chance he is leaving the race anytime soon.

"This is just a start for us, because this is the first real week we have done in Iowa," Hunter said in an interview with CNN prior to the results being reported. “We look at this as a good start."

As for the winners, Huckabee will use the victory to try and raise money for his reinvigorated campaign and the big winner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, will seek to use the straw poll to continue to build his massive Iowa operation and as a springboard to greater national recognition.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser and CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

Filed under: Duncan Hunter • Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Race to '08 • Sam Brownback • Tommy Thompson
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Alex, New Orleans

    Guiliani, Thompson, and McCain may live to regret the day they let Mike Huckabee come in second in Ames. I'm a strong democrat and a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and quite frankly, I think the only Republican that can beat her is Mike Huckabee.

    He is the only Republican candidate that meets the conservative requirements of the Republican base, while still being likeable across party lines. If they truly want a Ronald Reagan, then the Republicans should pick the only candidate in their field, that is truly comfortable in his own skin.
    I disagree with Huckabee on most issues, but should Clinton or Biden not be the Democratic Nominee, and if the Republicans are smart enough(very doubtful)to choose him, I would cross parties and vote for Mike Huckabee.

    August 12, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    Based upon the total lack of comments on almost all articles, it doesn't seem if anybody reading CNN really cares a thing about Iowa Straw Poll.

    August 12, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. eagle eye

    lol,sure your a strong democrat and clinton supporter, alex, sure you are.

    August 12, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Jim

    I have to agree with alex, I don't know if huckabee can win against Hillary but I'm an Independent who supporting Obama and If hillary beat him I may not vote in the general election unless Huckabee was the republican nominee. If the republicans want to offer an alternate to hillary they'd better put him there. Obama 08!

    August 12, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Bushh8ter

    After twelve years of republican control, I would vote for a lint ball rather than any republican. Each one of these republican idiots want to continue isolating America, refuse to acknowledge global warming, and will only continue helping big business rape our middle class. What this country needs is a shakeup that shocks us out of our complacency. A democratic landslide will help us ensure peace, prosperity, and comfort for all, not just the rich, homophobic, and racist.

    August 12, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Jill, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Mitt Romney is a flip-flopping pro-abortion opportunist!

    August 12, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. jay

    Dear Jim, No matter how you feel about someone or who you support, I cannot for the life of me understand you saying, "I may not vote in the general election unless Huckabee". How can you just not vote? Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives over the last 230 or so years to make sure you had the right and I feel obligation to vote. I am 51, I have never missed an election or a primary ever.

    Just b/c you do not get who you want, you just do nto take your toys home and sulk!

    Frankly I would love Huckabee to be the GOP canidate, as that will insure the Dems will win, not just the WH, but huge majorities in both houses.

    Take care, Jay

    August 12, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. Eric, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Huckabee? Nominating an evolution denier would be a sure way to get this right leaning independent to vote for any of the otherwise less logical democrats. I only hope McCain comes back so I can vote for rather than against in the general election.

    August 12, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. Allen Sircy, Nashville TN

    Roney didn't win a thing. He got what he paid for. Ron Paul received 9% and only started campaigning in the state on Monday. Look out media. You can't avoid him forever

    August 12, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. Eamon, Dublin, Ireland

    You write 'strong democrat', surely this is an oxymoron. We all know they can't be trusted with national security. The last 6 1/2 years have been a tour de force for the republicans vis-a-vis national security. They have reaffirmed my view that they are the unassailable champions of 'murika's preservation.

    August 12, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. Patrick Snyder, Coral Springs, FL

    Wasn't Huckabee one of the boys who raised his hand when the candidates were asked who doesn't "believe in" evolution? Yeah, if not Obama or Clinton, then clearly Huckabee. Right? Right? Right. Sheesh.

    August 12, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Bruce, Franklin, TN

    As a Huckabee supporter for the past few months, I am glad to see that some others have been paying attention during the debates.

    I believe he offers the most sincere, genuine, principled and consistent option to the GOP voter (and to Independents). He has executive experience, is a man of values and is a Washington "outsider."

    He's the first candidate I've ever supported with a contribution. I would encourage others who like him to do so, as well.

    August 12, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Wucksey Milwaukee Wi

    A poll for what? To see who spent the most money getting their voters to Ames, Iowa for a day of fun and voting. The fee was $35, and paid by the candidates to get people to come to their little straw poll and they had 10,000 less participate than four years ago. I heard that Romney spent over $600 for every vote in this straw poll but I realize he has a lot to spend and will continue to spend to try to buy the nomination. I now fully understand after all these years of opposing Tommy Thompson that he only got into this race to keep inflating his own big ego. I just wish he'd come home to run against Senator Kohl so we could shut him up once and for all.

    August 12, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. Tom Z

    Historically, Governors do much better in gaining the White House. This Straw Vote proves that out...

    August 12, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Eric Johnson, Dallas

    Anyone taking bets on who's next, between John McCain or Duncan Hunter?

    August 12, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. dilmont

    Now that Tommy Thompson is out of the race, let's call on his brother Ed to enter. Ed ran for WI Governor as a Libertarian a few years ago. Sure, he doesn't stand a chance of winning either, but trust me, the sound bites would be a lot more interesting 'cause ol' Ed speaks his mind without as much self-censorship as the professional politicians.

    August 13, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  17. Ross, Austin TX

    Alex, I don't see how you could possibly simultaneously claim to be a democrat and then claim to support someone like Mike Huckabee. He is the epitome of republicanism, and all his positions are counter to anything a democrat would want. His stance on creationism, as well, spells doom for science as we know it. Bottom line, he's just going to be another Bush. Reagan? He wasn't that great either, but Mike wouldn't even compare to him.

    August 13, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. Chris, FL

    I think Ron Paul has just as much to offer as Huckabee. He seems well liked by the democrats. Libertarians usually are liked by both parties as they stand in the middle.

    I won't say I'll move to another country if someone else wins, but I am perplexed by our country compared to 100 years ago. We're not doing well at all.

    August 13, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |


    August 13, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Ron Phillips, San Diego, CA

    I never thought I would agree with Karl Rove on anything. But apparently when it comes to Hilary we agree.

    August 15, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |