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Marco Rubio Skipping Iowa Straw Poll

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s staff has announced that the Senator isn’t taking his campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination to the Iowa Straw Poll this year.

Rubio isn’t alone in skipping Iowa: Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Lindsey Graham won’t be attending. Several other candidates, such as Rand Paul, have not made their official announcement on whether or not they will attend.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Doctor Ben Carson are the only major candidates saying they will participate in the upcoming straw poll.

Like Bush, Rubio’s campaign spokesman seemed to insist that competing in the Iowa straw poll is not a cost-effective endeavor.

“We are running a lean campaign, so we will only spend money on contests that award delegates,” Alex Conant, Rubio’s communications director, told Politico.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Two past GOP nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, both skipped Iowa.

Recent polling in Iowa shows Walker with a strong lead among Hawkeye voters.

Former Arkansas Governor and two-time GOP presidential hopeful Huckabee said that it is self-defeating for the GOP to engage in the straw poll. When he announced he was skipping it this time, he said it caused the candidates to waste too many resources.

“It’s clear,” Huckabee told the Des Moines Register, “that pitting conservative candidates with limited resources against each other in a non-binding and expensive summer straw poll battle, while allowing billionaire-backed establishment candidates to sit out, will only wound and weaken the conservative candidates who best represent conservative and hard-working Iowans.”

With so many skipping the event, some wonder if this signals the end of the Iowa poll. The Hill even opined that the “Iowa straw poll is on a death watch.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.

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