Huckabee Joins Bush and Graham, Will Skip Iowa Straw Poll

Mike Huckabee
The Associated Press
Washington, DC

GOP presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee joined potential GOP candidates Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) in saying he’ll skip the Iowa Straw Poll, a campaign staple and conservative grassroots event in the Hawkeye state.

In an op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Huckabee explained why he won’t take part in the grassroots event in Iowa this year.

To win in 2016, it’s important to learn from the mistakes of the last few election cycles, in which conservatives were divided and opened a path for a more moderate establishment candidate to ultimately win the nomination, only to lose to Obama.

I have concluded this year’s Iowa straw poll will serve only to weaken conservative candidates and further empower the Washington ruling class and their hand-picked candidates.

Huckabee won the Iowa caucus in 2008, and poll numbers have shown he fares well in the state as a social conservative.

The Iowa Straw poll is important mostly because it gives an early snapshot of the first caucus state and can provide possible insight into which GOP candidate might get the Republican nomination.

However, it failed to forecast the Republican nominee in both 2008 and 2012.

After Huckabee won in 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) went on to win nomination – and McCain didn’t even place in the top three in the Iowa straw poll. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) won the straw poll in 2012, but Gov. Mitt Romney was the nation’s pick for the Republican nomination.

“The Iowa Straw Poll has grown into one of the largest grassroots events on the presidential nomination calendar, drawing tens of thousands of Caucus-going activists mere months before they’ll cast a Caucus vote,” Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a recent op-ed.

According to CNN, Bush’s decision disappointed the Iowa GOP Chairman.

“We hope Governor Bush rethinks his decision and realizes that grassroots will only grow in Iowa if he waters them,” Kaufmann tweeted, CNN reported.

However, Kristy Campbell, spokesperson for Bush told Breitbart News his position has remained the same on the Iowa straw poll.

Bush and Graham are expected to officially launch their White House bids this summer.

The Iowa Straw poll will be held in Boone on August 8th.