Romney to sit out Ames Straw Poll
June 9th, 2011
08:54 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney to sit out Ames Straw Poll

(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.

On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. bb

    Cause he's not going to win Iowa, or the southern Bible best states, or the Northwest corridor, the mid-Atlantic states, or the western states other than his own. Come to think of it – GOP, is this the best you've got?

    June 9, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. FreedomLover

    He's afraid of the competition, Ron Paul would beat his, hands down. Romney, go home.

    June 9, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess that he knows that he won't win that one.

    June 9, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. I was fooled by Republican's in 2010 , I will never vote for the lying weasels again !

    Yeah he is scared to see how much his support is dwindling ! It look's like Romney doesn't want to get his little feelings hurt !

    June 10, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  5. Liberal4Obama

    Mitt Romney makes "No Apology" for his cowardness

    June 10, 2011 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  6. Joe in Los Angeles

    Who cares?

    Ron Paul is the only candidate worth voting for in the GOP field.

    June 10, 2011 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  7. diridi

    I bet he will be front-runner....Tim Pawlenty is an idiot....o.k,

    June 10, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    He's trying to maintain good poll results. He's come out on top in a few and now he wants to stay on top. The best way to drop is to not even be in the poll. Chicken.

    June 10, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  9. Paul

    Well. Mitt won't win Iowa, newt's campaign is imploding and he doesn't seem to care, he is a big government type. Palin won't run, she knows she is just a joke. Out of the top tier candidates with over 8% in polls, that only leaves us with Ron Paul and Herman Cain. Ron Paul has a lot more experience, and has more credibility on the economy even though Cain seems to advocate small government aswell. But Cain will continue pushing endless wars are government spying on us and that hurts the 2nd ammendment voters, Cain also losses credibility for being a chairman at the FED. The FED is viewed as the culprit for our current inflation and the creator of the bubbles. So Ron Paul will win Iowa in my opinion and go on to win the nomination.

    June 10, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |