Former Iowa GOP Leader Says Ron Paul Will Win Straw Poll

Unlike his fellow GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum, Ron Paul doesn't mind if you Google him.<a href="">madwurm</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

On Friday Craig Robinson, the former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa and current editor-in-chief of the influential Iowa Republican (TIR) news site, boldly reconfirmed his earlier prediction that Texas Rep. Ron Paul would win Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll. On Saturday afternoon, after speeches by Newt Gingrich, Gov. Terry Branstad, and the notorious conservative Iowa Rep. Steve King at the TIR tent, I asked Robinson if his opinion had changed.

“There’s an awful lot of people on the backside of this building,” where Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum all set up shop, Robinson said, but from his vantage point he hadn’t been able to judge the success of Ron Paul’s and Tim Pawlenty’s turnout operations. (The enigmatic Thaddeus McCotter is within Robinson’s view, too, but hasn’t attracted much attention despite his safety clown van.)

“I think turnout’s going to be high, and for me I think that kind of lends itself to a Bachmann victory, maybe, or even an upset from someone else,” Robinson said. He’s still predicting that Paul and Bachmann will take the top two spots (not necessarily in that order), and—with the caveat that he hadn’t seen Pawlenty’s tent, where turnout has been strong too—a surprisingly good finish by Cain or Santorum. (Paul, who paid top-dollar for his tent location, has had a strong group of supporters hanging out near Hilton Colisium, where the candidates are speaking.)

Tim Pawlenty tries to attract straw poll voters with BBQ ribs. (Photo: Gavin Aronsen)Tim Pawlenty tries to win over straw poll voters with BBQ ribs. (Photo: Gavin Aronsen)The first part of Robinson’s comment is in line with today’s conventional wisdom: a high turnout will help Michele Bachmann while a lower turnout would have been better for Paul or Tim Pawlenty, considered by many to be Bachmann’s top rival at the straw poll. The turnout does look high, with Bachmann drawing a huge lunch line in a packed tent that smells like MoJo reporter Tim Murphy’s soccer cleats.

There was a similar narrative in 2007, when prognosticators said a large turnout would help Mitt Romney and a lower turnout would give the win to Mike Huckabee. Romney won that time.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend