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When Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) took first and second, respectively, at Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll, they weren’t the only victors; Iowa’s tea party movement, and particularly social and religious conservatives within the movement, mobilized to bring their voices on issues to the forefront.
The tents have been taken down, the red, white and blue technicolor buses have pulled out of Ames and candidates have left either victorious or licking proverbial wounds. Bachmann (R-Minn), U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took the top three spots, respectively — the new question is “What does a Bachmann Straw Poll victory in Iowa mean for the caucuses?”
AMES — Not surprisingly, charismatic Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) took top prize the 2011 Ames Straw Poll with4,823 votes.
A decision by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to make his formal announcement regarding 2012 at the same time as the Ames Straw Poll or, more importantly, to let it be known now that such comments are forthcoming, is not only strategic, but a direct nod to volunteers who have been beating the Iowa ground on his behalf, a Texas source close to the campaign told The Iowa Independent Monday.
GOP 2012 presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has decided to pass on the Iowa straw poll this summer, a warm-up event for the election-year Iowa caucuses, which increasingly have become a sort of warm-up event for the real primary campaigns. Romney's decision is making headlines as a risky move but the fact is non-incumbent winners of the GOP Iowa caucus don't win the GOP national nomination in any kind of consistent way. And the record of caucus winners is even less a predictor for success in the general election. As Romney knows and as the New York Times suggested Saturday, Iowa is now way too Christian right and Midwest parochial to serve as a barometer for Republican America.