Terry Bransted

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

The Ames Straw Poll could soon be a thing of the past. Iowa’s Republican Governor, Terry Branstad, may have delivered the death blow to the beleaguered event. From the Wall Street Journal:

“I think the straw poll has outlived its usefulness,” Mr. Branstad said of the 33-year-old GOP ritual. “It has been a great fundraiser for the party but I think its days are over.”

The Ames Straw Poll has had problems for years and suffered a real crisis of legitimacy this cycle when Mitt Romney chose to skip the event. This helped Michele Bachmann win the event, but she went on to lose the Iowa caucus by a huge margin.

Having the governor of the state say the straw poll is no longer useful could give many potential candidates an excuse to skip the rather expensive event. Candidates who may not naturally appeal to the heavily evangelical make up of the event will probably be glad to have another good justification for not wasting money on it.

If the top tier candidates don’t take part, it is going to be difficult for the media to justify paying much attention to it or hyping the results.

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