Interesting perspective from a longtime Iowa political pooh-bah:
I have to respectfully disagree when you state that a candidate must make Iowa specific promises to win at the Straw Poll. If you asked the vast majority of Iowans why they are supporting (or not supporting) a candidate, ethanol would never enter the conversation. I’ve been active in Iowa politics for years and I can tell you that a candidate’s position on ethanol rarely comes up. Immigration, abortion, taxes, War on Terror, etc, those are the issues Iowa Republicans care about. I’d be happy to take back my comments if someone can point to a poll of Iowa voters that challenges my point but I seriously doubt that such a poll exists. The issues Iowa Republicans care about (and ultimately make their choice based on) are the same issues Republicans all over the U.S. care about. Competing in Iowa will not harm the Republican nominee.
Also I feel the need to point out that Rudy’s campaign said they still plan to compete in the caucuses in January. If “Iowa specific issues” were going to cause him not to compete in the straw poll in August, it would stand to reason that “Iowa specific issues” would keep Rudy from competing in the caucuses in January as well. This clearly isn’t the case. There are other reasons why he’s skipping the straw poll.