Branstad wants alternative to Iowa Straw Poll - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Branstad wants alternative to Iowa Straw Poll

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Iowa Governor Terry Branstad wants to replace the Iowa Straw Poll in 2015.

Governor Branstad is pushing for a series of regional events to replace the straw poll

"Obviously this is a decision to be made by the Republican State Senate Committee, not by me, but I think we want to be welcoming to all candidates,” Branstad said. “I want to encourage them all to come and participate. I think you could have an event like that without actually taking a straw poll that could indeed attract all the candidates and give them an opportunity to be exposed to Iowa voters and have kind of a fun summer event."

Since 1979, the Republican Party of Iowa has held the straw poll the year before the presidential caucuses. The poll often launches the GOP favorite into the national spotlight. However, 2011 was an exception. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann won, and then her popularity fizzled out. Meanwhile, bigger names like Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich skipped the event. Critics question the value of the straw poll if top candidates don't take part.

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