WASHINGTON—The once influential Iowa GOP Straw poll is dead. Republican front-runners Rudy Giuliani and John McCain pulled out. The Illinois Republican party is poised to fill the void and offer a "more objective standard" to test support.
With the new, earlier February pimary, state party leaders have been mulling a straw poll at GOP day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield in August. With Iowa off the calendar, there is more interest.
Illinois State Party chairman Andy McKenna told the Sun-Times, “We haven't made a final decision, but Illinois is not Iowa. Our straw poll would be focused on energizing grassroots supporters and testing the strengths of the various presidential campaigns' local organizations.
"We're not looking for an artificial process that simply rewards those campaigns which are willing to spend the most money. "The uncertainty about the Iowa straw poll could strengthen the impact of ours - campaigns in Illinois will be measured by a more objective standard. Those that are well organized and are attracting legitimate support will be rewarded by the votes of committed GOP activists at our State Fair Day."