Jeb Bush announced his campaign will forgo the critical Iowa Straw Poll next month. Some argue this may be a sign that he is cutting bait on the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
In the most recent Quinnipiac poll among Iowa voters, Bush fell to a meager 5% and seventh place behind Ben Carson. What’s worse, 25% of voters indicated they would “definitely not” be willing to vote for him.
In place of the straw poll, Bush will attend the Redstate Gathering in Atlanta on the same day as the Iowa Straw Poll. This decision drew surprise and criticism from Republican circles.
Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann advised that Bush should reconsider his decision and invest in the state by “watering grassroots support”. He also pointed out, since the Redstate Gathering is a four-day event, several candidates will be attending both events.
Bush will be joined by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in avoiding the Iowa event, which will likely cement the GOP’s largely conservative, evangelical opposition to the more moderate candidates.
However, Jeb’s gamble has some historical precedent. Sen. John McCain avoided the state almost entirely in the run-up to the 2008 election and still managed to gain the party’s nomination. Whether it will proves to be a winning strategy amid arguably the strongest field of Republican candidates in a generation remains in question.