Jeb Bush Will Skip Iowa Straw Poll, Sparking Outrage From Iowa GOP Chair

May 12, 2015 4:28 p.m.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) will not be attending the Iowa Straw Poll -one of the most high-profile events of the presidential cycle, and instead go to the Redstate Gathering in Atlanta.

An official on Bush’s political campaign team confirmed to TPM that the former governor is going to the Redstate event instead. The news was first reported by the Des Moines Register.

Bush, who has indicated strong interest in running for president in 2016, is the first of the would-be 2016 contenders or declared 2016 contenders, to decide to skip out on the straw poll. Critics argue that the poll is actually a bad indicator of who the actual frontrunner is in the presidential primary process.

The news sparked an outraged rant from the chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party.

The move comes amid reports that Bush faces a steep climb to dominating in Iowa, if he decided to run for president. National Journal reported that Bush has taken heed of wariness among Iowa conservatives about his chances in the state and instead plans to focus more on New Hampshire.

A Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday found Bush lagging behind the rest of the likely and declared 2016 Republican field, with just 5 percent of voters saying they would back him.

Earlier in the year, Bush seemed to be laying the groundwork for a hard push in Iowa when David Kochel, a former top adviser to Mitt Romney with deep ties to Iowa who recently served as a senior adviser to now-Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined Bush’s political team. If Bush runs for president, Kochel is expected to serve as campaign manager.

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