NOT THE LAST STRAW
Former Massachusetts Gov.
estimated $5 million in the lead up to the Ames straw poll,
outbidding other Republican campaigns for everything from buses to
catering for the crowd.
With no other top tier candidate remotely playing in the state
GOP party fundraiser, it was expected — and his campaign had been
encouraging for months — an expectation of a win by more than 15
percent. At one point in early May, Romney advisers were predicting
the possibility of a majority (better than 50%) win if other top
tier candidates chose not to play in the straw poll.
But over the past month Romney and his advisers began lowering
the bar of expectations, and did a good job, ensuring this his
31.5% of the votes and 13% margin of victory over former Arkansas
Gov. Mike Huckabee was just good enough.
Romney sources now indicate that he set his sights on the
end-of-August Texas straw poll, one that many thought he would not
play in. “The dynamic in the race has changed a bit,” says one
Romney adviser. “We’re looking to have a victory somewhere beyond
the Midwest, to show we can win down south. Texas is the one we’re
The Texas straw poll, to be held in Dallas the last week of
August, is getting little attention in the media. But now that Ames
is over, it may garner more attention, particularly if Romney makes
a late play to make it a bigger event than previously expected.
is getting credit for an excellent
showing in the Ames straw poll, and people are trying to figure out
how he got the supporters to where they needed to be. One answer
lies in the buses that were rented to bring members of the
Americans for Fair Taxation organization to their FairTax rally at