Well, the hub-bub of the Iowa Straw Poll is over and it's time to determine the winners and losers. That may not be as easy as you think.
The winner when it came to votes at the poll was Mitt Romney. But did he really win? Estimates said that he had spent well over a million dollars to get first place. He was the only top tier candidate that was competing, as Giuliani and McCain did not participate. So for Romney it was a have to come in strong first place. With all of that money on the line and no top tier competition, he really had a lot to lose and not much to win.
The big winner in the way of candidates had to be Mike Huckabee. Placing second with all of the candidates fighting over the Religious Right vote was quite an accomplishment. What he may have done is place himself in the top tier for VP candidates. Tom Tancredo found out that folks are not single issue voters. Immigration is an important issue in Iowa but Tancredo came off as "I am the only one who can deal with this" during his straw poll speeches.
The losers had to be Tommy Thompson, as he bailed out of the race this week. No surprise. He just wasn't catching on.
Another loser had to be Rudy Giuliani. He wants Iowans to take him seriously but he ignored the event. Now Rudy said he wouldn't participate after McCain said the same earlier this summer. He probably was afraid of the not much to gain, too much to lose. A Romney – Giuliani straw poll would have been fun to watch. We would have seen if a social issue liberal New York Republican could beat a social issue liberal Massachusetts Republican trying to remake himself.
Let's deal with the other who was not present – John McCain. McCain sold out to the Bushies and they don't trust him so basically his campaign is over. This nomination was his for the losing and he did a fine job of it.
Fred Thompson, the politician turned actor, turned politician, still hasn't made up his mind. Actually, he should just enjoy his part time acting job and forget the White House. His only hope is that the entire front of the pack will trip over themselves. Not going to happen.
The award for the most whine (without cheese) has to go to the Ron Paul followers. Placing 5th with about 9% of the vote wasn't bad considering the fact that he had only been campaigning full time in Iowa for a week. "Dr. No" did ok but his followers complained that their exit poll showed the candidate winning and claimed that the balloting was rigged. It is a shame that many Paul supporters have an "everyone is out to get us" chip on their shoulder. This is a shame because the Congressman has some ideas that would sell in the Republican party.
But of course, the biggest winner of all is the Iowa Republican Party, who netted close to 2 million dollars. And in a purple state, that's a lot of votes when it counts.