Straw poll results in. ROMNEY WINS IOWA GOP STRAW POLL WITH 31.5 PERCENT OF THE VOTE; HUCKABEE FINISHES SECOND. ABC News
WaPo has more: Analysis: Huckabee's 2nd-Place 'Win'
AMES, Iowa -- The biggest political event of the 2007 calendar year gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a victory, but the biggest winner may well be former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who placed a surprising second.
Agreed. Surprise. Surprise. But it won't mean anything. You'll see.
Romney's 4,516 votes were roughly 2,000 more than Huckabee received. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback came in third with 2,192 votes. Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) placed fourth, while Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) was fifth. Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who said he would likely leave the race if he didn't finish first or second, came in sixth. (Full results are available here.)
I have more faith in Tancredo than I do in the Huckster.
The turnout was far lower than in 1999, when 23,685 votes were cast and George W. Bush was the winner. The turnout may have been suppressed by the fact that three of the biggest names in the GOP race -- Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain -- chose not to attend the event. Republican voters have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the current field in any number of public polls.
Giuliani is the spoiler. Thompson is all style no substance. McCain is the gang of 14. End of story. He is deader than yesterday's love.
* Tancredo's fourth-place finish could well be a triumph for his campaign, which has been mired in the one or two percent range in most of the polling we've seen. His strident opposition to illegal immigration found a ready audience here in Ames, and Tancredo effectively turned that into votes.
* Paul's problem in this race was on vivid display here in Ames. While his supporters were fanatically loyal (and loud), not enough of them were from Iowa for him to make a major impact on the race. Paul has a rabid national following fueled by the Internet, but the nominating fight remains a state by state affair.
Paul's problem is Paul. He is on the wrong ticket.
* Thompson (Tommy, that is) seems to have reached the end of his campaign. The four-term governor never seemed to hit his stride on the campaign trail, struggling to push out his message in a field of better-known, better-financed and more charismatic candidates. If he doesn't drop out in the next few days, we'd be stunned.
He is so finished. Next
* Duncan Hunter finished behind two candidates -- Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani -- who didn't actively participate in the Straw Poll.
Pity, he's a good man
The biggest unknown of the race is Fred Thompson's candidacy. Thompson had a small, unofficial presence at Ames, but he is not yet an official candidate and won't be one until after Labor Day. There was some talk here today that Thompson had missed a golden opportunity to slow Romney's momentum in the state by not participating. Maybe.
With Jihad Spence at his side? Oh puhleeze.
When do they real candidates show up?