Mike Huckabee Becomes Second 2016 Hopeful To Skip Iowa Straw Poll

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at the Republican National Committee spring meeting Friday, May 15, 2015, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) announced on Thursday that he would not participate in the Iowa Straw Poll, which is typically a prominent event in the presidential election.

Huckabee wrote in an op-ed in the Des Moines Register that he will instead focus his campaign’s resources on the Iowa caucuses.

“I have concluded this year’s Iowa straw poll will serve only to weaken conservative candidates and further empower the Washington ruling class and their hand-picked candidates,” Huckabee wrote. “It’s clear that pitting conservative candidates with limited resources against each other in a non-binding and expensive summer straw poll battle, while allowing billionaire-backed establishment candidates to sit out, will only wound and weaken the conservative candidates who best represent conservative and hard-working Iowans.”

When Huckabee ran for president in 2008, he placed second in the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and went on to win the Iowa caucuses.

Huckabee mentioned in his op-ed that the Iowa Republican Party made some change to the straw poll, but he said that participating would still be too costly. The Iowa GOP decided this year that candidates will no longer have to bid to pitch tents at the event, hoping to eliminate the idea that candidate need to “pay to play.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) will also skip the Iowa Straw Poll, and will instead attend the RedState gathering in Atlanta. When Bush’s campaign confirmed that he would skip the straw poll, Jeff Kauffman, the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, criticized the decision on Twitter.

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