June 16, 2015 — We witnessed a great many political “noes” this weekend, as Iowa Republicans voted to do away with their famous August straw poll event, and two potential major Senate candidates announced they would not run next year.
The Iowa Republican Party began the straw poll event in August of 1979, as a way to showcase their first-in-the nation caucus contest. Over the years, the event attracted major media attention and was generally viewed as the first official contest of the respective presidential campaign cycle. In the most recent years, it became the Iowa GOP’s top fundraising event for their entire election season. But, over this past weekend, the Iowa Republican Party Executive Committee voted 17-0 to end the famous informal poll.
Several reasons exist for the event’s elimination, which previously drew thousands to Iowa State University in Ames, the traditional event venue. First, the straw poll was never a good predictor as to who would win the Caucus event. For example, then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6) placed first in the 2011 straw poll, which proved to be the high point of her campaign. Basically she was not heard from in a serious way after that. In fact, of the six straw poll events, only once did the outright August vote correctly foretell the actual Caucus winner (George W. Bush in 2000). Continue reading >
Gov. Mike Pence (R), whose name appears from time to time on the ever-growing list of Republicans considering a presidential run, appears to be drawing at least one name opponent for the 2016 Indiana statewide race. The Hoosier State is one of 11 entities to hold their gubernatorial vote in the presidential election year, thus putting a potential crimp into any plan the governor may have about entering the national campaign.
Most believe Pence will seek re-election to a second term, especially since political heavyweights Evan Bayh, the Democratic former governor and senator, and former gubernatorial nominee John Gregg have both said they will not run for governor in 2016.
But, former US Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN-9) is making moves to suggest that he will enter the contest. Hill is leaving his DC lobbying firm and moving back to Indiana and reportedly is setting a financial budget as to what he will require to launch and conduct a competitive campaign.
Hill served 10 non-consecutive years in the House, and belongs to a small group of members who have twice lost their seats as incumbents. Hill was originally elected to the House in 1998, and fell to businessman Mike Sodrel (R) in the Bush re-election year of 2004. Undaunted, he ran once more two years later and re-claimed the seat in the 2006 Democratic landslide. But, in the Republican wave of 2010, Rep. Hill once Continue reading >