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Sweet blog scoop: Illinois GOP to hold presidential straw poll. Will challenge Iowa for influence. UPDATED WITH RESULTS.

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AUG. 17

WASHINGTON--The Illinois Republican Party will announce today it will host a straw poll on Aug. 16, at the state fair in Springfield, five days after the Iowa straw poll. With Illinois one of the "super Tuesday" Feb. 5 states--and with the GOP contest wide open in Illinois--the state party wants to be a player, if for no other reason than to rally the grass roots in this very blue state where Democrats hold all major state offices and control both chambers of the legislature.

Republican hopefuls Rudy Giuliani and John McCain pulled out of the Iowa straw poll. The Illinois Republican party is poised to fill the void and offer a "more objective standard" to test support.

There will be no pay to play, said state party chair Andy McKenna. Click below for his statement.

McKenna statement..
Illinois Republican Party to Conduct
Presidential Straw Poll

With earlier primary date, Illinois Republicans will play
larger role in choosing Republican Nominee

CHICAGO - Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna announced today that the Illinois Republican Party will conduct a Presidential Straw Poll on Republican Day of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Noting the broad range of experienced Republican candidates vying for the Presidency, McKenna said, “Illinois Republicans are energized about their choices to lead the party in 2008 and with an earlier primary date scheduled for February Illinois will play a central role in choosing the Republican Presidential nominee.”

Presidential Campaigns participating in the Illinois Republican Presidential Straw Poll are not charged a fee for their participation. One of two requirements dictates a presidential candidate’s participation in the Illinois Republican Presidential Straw Poll: 1.) Polling above 5% in national, independent polls; or 2.) Having participated in any of the previous nationally televised debates in 2007.

McKenna added, “The poll allows Republican Presidential Candidates to speak directly to Republican grassroots activists. Participation in the Straw Poll will expose the Republican Presidential candidates to Illinois’ most dedicated activists, including all 102 county chairmen.”

The County Chairman’s Association recently expressed its support for a straw poll in a letter to Chairman McKenna this summer.

“The County Chairman’s Association is in full support of a straw poll in Illinois. This presents an opportunity for Illinois Republicans to hear from their prospective Presidential candidates and an opportunity for the Presidential campaigns to get their message to Illinois Republicans,” said Randy Pollard, President of the County Chairman’s Association.

The Presidential Straw Poll will be conducted at the Illinois State Fair over an approximate five-hour period on Thursday, August 16, 2007, on the Director’s Lawn of the fairgrounds. All eligible Illinois voters are invited to participate. To take part in the poll, an eligible Illinois voter must present a valid Illinois Driver’s License or State photo ID card. This is to verify eligibility and prevent multiple voting.

“With this straw poll we sought to provide a completely open process that allows anyone eligible to vote in Illinois to participate,” said McKenna. “There are no charges or fees and this poll will serve as a superb opportunity for candidates to address the rank-and-file Republican leaders of Illinois.”


This from previous blog entry on Illinois straw poll.

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."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 11, 2007 11:04 AM.

Sweet blog extra: Obama says media is "obsessed with the Clintons." was the previous entry in this blog.

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