Iowa Straw Poll going back to basics - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Straw Poll going back to basics

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BOONE (KWWL) -

The Iowa Straw Poll is one of the largest grassroots events on the political calender, tens of thousands of supporters show up, but some feel it's become a spectacle -- taking away from the goal of testing the campaigns.

Now, the Iowa Republican Party is going back to the basics.

The event has evolved throughout the years. It's gone from a county fundraiser to a major event where candidates were spending tens of thousands of dollars. Critics have complained the event has become a costly sideshow so now, the Iowa Republican Party says they want to go back to the way things used to be

The party will no longer charge candidates for lots.. It used to be that the candidates would have to bid for the best spot, near the voting area That could cost up to $35,000. Now, the party will randomly assign locations and will bring in vendors to cater the event.

"What we've done is taken the expense away from the straw poll," said Jeff Kaufmann, Chair, Republican Party of Iowa. "The only expense is the plane ticket to get here. We are setting up a situation where people who want to be leaders of the free world can interact with people in the first in the nation state and do so in a very inexpensive way."

Candidates can still go over the top if they'd like but the chairman also hopes to end the idea of "paying to play," bringing things back to politics.

Despite criticism, a committee doesn't want to stop the event. There was a vote back in January to keep it around and everyone agreed.

Committee members say the poll energizes people and is a good early test for the candidates. The event will be August 8th in Boone.


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