Iowa Straw Poll Could Cut GOP Field

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AMES, Iowa, Aug. 13 (UPI) — Saturday’s Iowa straw poll could weed some candidates out of the crowded Republican presidential field.

The poll may be make-or-break time for Tim Pawlenty, who served as governor in neighboring Minnesota and has invested more time and money in Iowa than his rivals, The Hill reported. It also could be critical for Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and for two lagging candidates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Pawlenty said Friday he would have to “reassess” his decision to run if he does badly.

“We may not have any choice, if it went that way,” he told reporters at an Iowa breakfast sponsored by Politico.

Two strong candidates have decided to ignore the poll. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is in South Carolina, where he is expected to make his candidacy official, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has stayed away for the most part along with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

The straw poll tends to be a measure of the quality of a candidate’s ground operation in Iowa. Supporters are being lured to Ames with food and in Bachmann’s case performances by country singers, the Des Moines Register reported.

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