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August, 3rd 2007

More Romney straw poll hijinks

– Liz Mair

Well, we're less than a week away from the Ames Straw Poll, so you know Mitt Romney-- that famous straw poll manipulator-- and his team (some of whom are outright straw poll fraudsters) had to be up to something, right?

Yeah, well, they are. From Marc Ambinder:

A Republican county chairman in Iowa wants to punish presidential candidates who decided to opt out of next weekend's GOP straw poll in Ames. Hardin County chair Andy Cable won't invite these candidates' representatives to political meetings in his county, denying them valuable opportunities to recruit activists.

[...]

But Cable has a potential conflict of interest. He is also a paid organizer for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

On June 11, Mr. Cable sent an e-mail to representatives of former candidate Jim Gilmore, Sen. John McCain and ex-NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani. McCain and Giuliani announced that month that they would not spend millions to try and win the Ames Straw Poll on Aug. 11.

"As Chairman of the Hardin County Iowa Republicans I would like to have my name removed from any of your mailing lists," Cable writes. "Since you have chosen to sidestep an important part of the state Republican caucus process and thus show non support of loyal Iowan caucus goers I wish to ask you to have my name removed from your mailing lists and to inform you that your candidate and any representatives will not be invited to any Hardin County Central Committee meetings or local Republican functions. These are open only to those candidates that respect our system."

A copy of Cable's e-mail was obtained from an Iowa Republican.

Mr. Cable has publicly endorsed Romney and is among those Republicans Romney's campaign has paid $3,000 for "GOTV Consulting."
(my emphasis added)

Apparently, Mr. Cable sees no conflict of interest whatsoever and says that this decision was in no way influenced by his support for Romney. The Romney campaign, for its part, says that they didn't do anything to elicit this move from Mr. Cable. Mr. Cable also says that Iowans' votes cannot be bought at Ames.

As for points one and two, I'm sure-- the people organizing the straw poll at YRNC down in Florida were in "no way influenced" by their support for Romney, either. And the Romney people had nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with what occurred (except that every non-YR at the dinner at which Romney spoke, which was immediately followed by the polls opening up for people to vote, was wearing some kind of Romney paraphenalia, and the event including the opportunity to vote in the straw poll clearly had to have been advertised by the campaign).

As to point three, I'm quite sure that actual Iowans attending (apart from, say, the homeless-- who have allegedly been targets of Romney campaign efforts to buy votes in at least one past straw poll) won't allow their votes to be bought. But what about the thousands of supporters from out of state that Romney will be no doubt busing in, to vote (just like he did with regard to SRLC and with regard to the straw poll at CPAC)? Yeah, their votes will absolutely be bought.

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