The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Straw poll coming to Cowtown

By André Green/managing editor

TWatch out for those elephants!

The Grand Old Party is expecting a warm reception from Cowtown’s Republican faithful at the Presidential Straw Poll Friday-Saturday at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The 153-year-old party will hold the inaugural straw poll to gauge who the state thinks should receive the Republican nomination for president.

“ I think this is going to bring Texas to the forefront in the eye of the voters across the country,” John Perkins, SE associate professor of history, said. “We have a lot of electoral votes and a diverse political landscape.”

The Ames, Iowa, poll, with an estimated turnout of 14,000, saw former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney run away with 31 percent of the vote, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with just over 18 percent and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback with 15 percent.

Although the polls are informal, some candidates have used the results to determine whether or not they should continue their campaigns.

Tommy Thompson, former secretary of Health and Human Services, called it quits after coming in sixth in the Iowa poll behind Congressman Ron Paul and just ahead of politician-turned-actor-turned-politician Fred

Thompson, who not only finished with 1.6 percent of the vote, but has yet to declare.

“ I have no regrets about running,” Tommy Thompson said in a press release following the Iowa defeat. “I felt my record as governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as president, but I respect the decision of the voters.”

Although the city and the convention center will be geared up for the event, the turnout may suffer because of candidate participation.

The top-tier candidates, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (who has declined to attend any polls), Arizona Sen. John McCain, Romney as well as Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, have all declined to attend.

“ I think some of these guys decided, based on a strategy, that because Texas didn’t [host] a primary, they’d rather focus on other primary states.” Hans Klingler, Republican Party of Texas communications and political director, said. “If you want to win, you’ve got to be here.”

Perkins agreed.

“ It appears these candidates are gearing up for 2012 rather than 2008,” he said. “That’s going to possibly diminish the impact of the turnout.”

Thompson’s status, in the meantime, is unknown. However, if the former Law and Order co-star does attend, he may get a boost in numbers both by those disappointed with the no-shows and by the undecided.

Thompson has said he would not make an announcement regarding his presidential bid until Labor Day, so if he appears, that announcement would be in North Texas.

California Congressman Duncan Hunter, Huckabee, Brownback and Lake Jackson’s Paul have said they will attend.

Congresswoman Kay Granger and Sen. John Cornyn are also scheduled to speak at the two-day event.

Both the delegates and the prospective candidates, regardless of the attendance, Klingler said, will enjoy Tarrant County’s first taste of the voting season, even if it isn’t official.

“The people who are going to be here have the most to gain, and I think the delegates are going to appreciate their attendance,” he said.

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