From Iowa: Pawlenty Out, Santorum Staying In

Ames, Iowa - Now that Tim Pawlenty has become the first candidate to end his presidential campaign political junkies are consumed with who's next? Despite finishing behind Pawlenty former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum promised me he isn't going anywhere, “We are very excited about the results. Look we finished behind a perennial presidential candidate and two locals. That's nothing to be ashamed of. We are ready to go.” Herman Cain struck a similar note, however, his supporters are far less optimistic. In national polls Cain still commands the greatest positive intensity rating, but his finish behind Santorum is another sign his momentum is gone. Ron Paul's strong showing was expected, yet his numerous straw poll victories have rarely translated to success on election night.



Gov. Rick Perry may be campaigning down south, but his supporters are urging him to visit Iowa and fill the void left by Pawlenty. Conservatives are worried a Bachmann/Perry dogfight is looming in the near future. While Bachmann's bruising assault upon Pawlenty may have driven him to defeat, only Mitt Romney stands to benefit from a similar barrage against Gov. Perry. Analysts and staffers are becoming increasingly alarmed by Mitt Romney's ability to stay unharmed. Perry has also noted this and is supposedly looking for a showdown with Romney rather than Bachmann.

Meanwhile here in Ames live goes on as normal. Yesterday the towns population swelled by almost 30% as Republican faithful attended a straw poll that went down more like a rock concert slash county fair. Paul Shanklin scrounged the grounds with his eighteen year old son looking for material worth parodying on Rush Limbaugh's show. Rick Santelli signed autographs, Mike Huckabee hammed it up with Christian music group Sonic Flood, and attendees joked that security officers vacated an entire level of the Hilton coliseum when Ron Paul's supporters set up camp.

It looks like Herman Cain, Thaddeus McCotter, and Newt Gingrich are all good candidates to quickly replicate Tim Pawlenty's departure.



Final straw poll results:

Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann 28%

Texas Rep. Ron Paul 27%

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty 13%

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 9%

Herman Cain 8%

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