Friday, August 19, 2011

The Iowa Straw Poll, Another GUEST blog

8-19-11 lazy brain
OK I'm lazy this week as far as blogging goes, so this is a perfect timing for another guest blog from Ann, my one GOP friend who I can humorously joust with; since we both know we both are "a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll"..... although neither wants to admit it. Here is Ann's experience at the Iowa Straw Poll. Man, this girlfriend of mine was really "working the room"  I hope my Dad won't get too nauseated over this ....enjoy! ~Judy
FYI: Ron Paul and I agree on some things.

Iowans Are Great Americans

Iowans are hearty people, feeding the world and paving the road to the White House. The turnout at the Iowa Straw Poll was more than awesome, spectacular I would say and with 17,000 voters, hundreds of others, and 700 plus members of the “gotcha media”, we showed the world, why Iowa is important.

So what exactly goes on at the Iowa Straw Poll and what’s the relevance? Cut to the chase, a republican sponsored event held in August the year before a general election (since 1979) that gives the first solid indicator of viable candidates for the republican nomination for president. Prior to Poll day, the candidates set up shop in Des Moines to stage their presence. Their people work tirelessly to get voters to rallies and then to Ames, busing them in from every corner of the state. With that said, a good turnout could be 10,000 voters.

The voter arrives, signs in at their candidates’ tent “camp”, get a pre-paid ticket ($30), and if the candidate is smart, marches the voter right to the booth to vote. While at the Poll, voters have the opportunity to hear all the candidates give a stump speech and some actually meet the candidates. The stump speech alone can sway a voter if they are undecided. Some camps have live music, games for the kiddies, swag and food. The Poll is for Iowa voters only, and to prevent fraudulent voting, you have to show a ticket (yes pay to vote, remember fundraiser) and your Iowa picture ID, scandalous, I say! After voting, your thumb is stamped “Iraqi” style to prevent duplicate voting. The event runs 9-4. Here is a picture of the ballot.

We got to the event at 9:30, checked-in and yes, marched right over to the arena to vote. Since I did not need any swaying, I waited 30 minutes to vote. After voting, I took a walkabout to all of the candidates camp. Signage wise, Ron Paul was the winner then Rick Santorum. Space wise, Ron Paul won hands down with Tim Pawlenty then Michele Bachmann. Entertainment/Set-up, Ron Paul again then Pawlenty (I would say Bachmann but her tent was button down to keep the riff raffs out with Randy Travis as the headliner). Food, no contest, Pawlenty had the best food, Famous Dave’s and Dairy Queen Blizzards. Here’s a picture of the Pawlenty’s camp/food tent, Ron Paul on the golf cart (many were on golf carts with the exception of Cain) , Ron Paul’s “encampment”, Rand Paul (son of Paul).

While camp hopping, I was able to see all the candidates and heard Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty give passionate speeches, heard Herman Cain sing with back-up on base by Mike Huckabee, listened to the Nadas with Mike Huckabee on base and he also played at Rick Santorum’s tent. Here is a picture of Bachmann n’ husband, Huckabee n’ Pawlenty, Cain singing w/ Hucakabee, Santorum giving a stump speech.

I took time to listen to the array of speakers and what I was more impressed with was the number of people in the arena, listening attentively and supporting their candidate. And once more, Ron Paul was the winner with the largest and loudest crowd. Here is a picture of Santorum, Paul, Bachmann and Pawlenty in the arena.

So why is this one Poll, that is a fundraiser, so important? It gets your committed voters out and if they can come out to one single location on a given day, they will more than likely show up on caucus day and like caucus day, if your candidate does not have enough supporters, the voter will have to move to one that is viable.

The outcome was somewhat predicable. Pawlenty was slated to come in the middle of the pack, Bachmann was on fire and Paul’s voters showed up. What was unpredictable, Pawlenty coming in third and then dropping out and those at the bottom, did not. I guess he has an insight that we don’t have and if you are not “on fire” in August, you probably won’t be on fire in February. Does the winner of the Poll go on to win the nomination or the general election, more times than not, NO. With the exception of “W”, Judy’s favorite president.

In all it was a great day, great day to be in Ames, great day to be among like-minded people, watching the press and the candidates “press the flesh” and being in awe of being “an American”. Humor me with these pictures: Senator Grassley, Sean Hannity (Fox News), Bret Bair (Fox News) and of course, Uncle Sam.

On a side-bar note, I went home and came back at 6 pm for the live taping of Mike Hucakbee’s and Sean Hannity’s Poll results show. Wow, I had a lot of fun, Huckabee was straight forward with the winner (Bachamann) and the runners-up on his set. Then Hannity, what a super nice guy, loves his politics to the right, and so very passionate and personal. Sean Hannity, you are a “great American”.

Since my candidate dropped out, I’ll be shopping around, maybe Santorum or Perry but NOT Bachamann.

I too am a “great American”, chat later!
That Girl, Ann Marie

PS from Judy: I think we need to have a "dress poll" and see how people vote this question:
Was Ann's dress a little too sexy for this "family values" crowd?   I'm just saying..... :)


  1. Hey, it was a hot summer day and ... I wanted to get noticed. You should of seen my western boots! Ha ha.

  2. Thanks for explaining the process. I had no idea what a Straw Poll was. Coming from the hicks, it would be straw adorning my flag pole :D.

  3. Hi Judy: Is it only for Iowans? If someone were visiting from another state, could they attend? I'm assuming they couldn't vote. Do they check your voters' reg or is this just about who shows up and all are welcome?

  4. Anyone can go, but you do need IOWA ID to vote, but both Dems and GOP can vote as along as you are from Iowa.

    PS: Thanks Teresa for finding my error in yesturdays blog. Teresa sure knows her politics.... and is a teacher!