Iowa Straw Poll Is Canceled for This Year

Iowa
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry arrives to speak at the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 16. Jim Young/Reuters

The Iowa Straw Poll, a fundraising event for the state's Republican party, is canceled this year, the Republican Party of Iowa tells Newsweek.

The Republican Party of Iowa's State Central Committee voted Friday to cancel the 2015 Iowa Straw Poll, which was scheduled for August 8, according to spokesman Charlie Szold. The final vote was unanimous.

"I've said since December that we would only hold a straw poll if the candidates wanted one, and this year that is just not the case," Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann wrote in a statement. He called a special meeting to update the State Central Committee, then voted on Friday morning.

"This step, while extremely distasteful for those of us who love the Straw Poll, is necessary to strengthen our First in the Nation status and ensure our future nominee has the best chance possible to take back the White House in 2016," he added.

During the event, Republicans in the early primary state take a presidential straw poll. It typically is held in the late summer or early fall in advance of the Republican primaries.

At least a dozen Republicans have expressed interest in running for their party's nomination for the 2016 presidential election.

Many of the candidates are concerned about participating in an event that carries significant media-drive expectations ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, Kaufmann said.

GOP officials needed at least one solid candidate to commit to participating. But Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is the Iowa front-runner, decided not to join, The Des Moines Register reported.

Michele Bachmann won the last straw poll, followed by Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

"Canceling the event," Kaufmann said, "is not a decision anyone on the State Central Committee took lightly."

The state tradition dates back to 1979.