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="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21836324@N02/2110915392/sizes/z/in/photostream/">madwurm</a>/Flickr

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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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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