DES MOINES, Iowa -- In a unanimous vote, the Republican Party of Iowa's governing board decided to keep to continue the Iowa Straw Poll in August of this year. This comes after some republicans say it was time to end the 36 year tradition because the results were proving to no longer be useful.
The party's chairman, Jeff Kaufmann, says he wasn't surprised by the decision but was impressed at the passion and enthusiasm from members towards keeping the event that seen as a kick off to the Iowa Caucuses. However, the decision process is far from over. A seven member committee must now decide where the event will be held.
For years, Iowa State University has housed the event but unless party officials are able to negotiate a rental fee they feel is appropriate, the event could be held elsewhere.
Kaufmann says, "keeping it in Central Iowa is a must, I don’t see the committee moving far from that." He says hosting the political fair at the Farm Progress Show in Boone or the Iowa State Fairgrounds is already being considered. Party officials say it will take place sometime in August. The committee will begin their discussions next week. Kaufmann says he hopes to have a venue and date set within the next month.
Committee member,Trudy Caviness, says the decision process will be tedious and lengthy.
"You’ve got to first find out who can who can hold this many people, how many cars it can fit, there’s always been buses and transportation for candidates. You have to find something pleasing to everyone involved."
Caviness says she's open to a new venue because it's not about energy people bring to the straw poll. The party believes it will be able to attract around 30,000 supporters and strong presidential hopefuls. The events purpose, Kaufmann says, is to introduce candidates to supporters and the results are simply a snapshot in time. "This is not a venue where you can gauge in any scientific sense where a candidate is at that point in time."
Committee members hope to have a venue and date set within the next month.