A lot of people probably don’t know that much about Ames, so on the eve of the important Ames straw poll, it would be useful to do a round-up of what Ames means and what we can expect after it’s all over.
From Bloomberg comes Brownback, Huckabee May Find Iowa Straw Poll a ‘Peasant-Maker.’
Iowa Republicans start winnowing the field of presidential contenders at an informal straw poll in Ames tomorrow, a day of reckoning that has dashed the ambitions of many would-be presidents in its 28-year history.
Case in point, Tommy Thompson:
“I’ve said all along that if I don’t come in first or second, I’ll drop out of the race,” said Tommy Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin and Bush administration Cabinet official.
And the stakes?
The stakes are highest for second-tier candidates such as Thompson, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. This year’s straw poll is largely a race for place and show, with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney the presumed winner.
“It’s like power-lifting,” Brownback, 50, said. “You get your strength from your legs in the straw poll and then you power on through to the caucus.” Declining to predict how he would do, he said he will make an “assessment” after the ballots are counted tomorrow night.
And when the dust settles?
Analysts and campaign advisers say there won’t be nine Republicans in the race when the field leaves Ames.
CJOnline plays the expectations game.
With two of the leading Republican candidates staying away, Sen. Sam Brownback has a chance of finishing second in the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday, according to a Kansas State University professor.
“We don’t expect him to beat Mitt Romney, but second place isn’t out of the realm of possibilities,” Joe Aistrup, associate professor and head of K-State’s Department of Political Science, said in an interview Wednesday.
I could settle for second, considering the amount of money Mittens has poured into buying this thing.
And finally some analysis:
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback said changes made in the frontloading of the presidential nominating calendar place even more emphasis on Saturday’s GOP straw poll in Ames.
And hopes are high for this event:
Despite these challenges, he said he believes that he can perform very well at both the straw poll and at the caucuses with his consistent message. Brownback, accompanied by his daughter Liz, said the stage is set for a second-tier candidate to emerge on Saturday.
“I think that it looks great for Saturday, and I think our side of the aisle is set for a dark-horse candidate to come forward and I think I am that candidate,” Brownback said.
Unlike Giuliani’s daughter, who prefers Obama, Sam’s daughter is 100% behind her father. And unlike Rudy, Sam is fighting for victory in Iowa. Quite a distinction.
This overview barely scratches the surface of the mystique and power of the Ames straw poll: other than in 1987, the winner of the Iowa straw poll has gone on to win the Iowa Caucus. This may be the year that the second place winner beats the odds. A dark horse is in the race for 2008.