Two primary questions about Caucus campaign developments

Ponder these thoughts on Caucus Eve:

  1. If Romney wins: How crucial was Romney’s decision not to participate in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll?  Consider that two of Romney’s lieutenants worked on the 1996 Iowa campaign of Lamar Alexander.  The 1995 Straw Poll saw eventual-1996-Iowa-Caucus-winner Bob Dole and Phil Gramm tie.  When Caucus time rolled around, Alexander was the “surge” candidate of the cycle, so it’s like Romney’s insiders have a good bit of the “oppo research” on the surge candidate in their personal memory bank.  In addition, these guys were around for Lamar 2000, which lasted until right after the Straw Poll, where Alexander failed to meet expectations — leading to his exit from the race.
  2. If Santorum wins: How key was Santorum’s decision to come to Iowa and campaign on the “Judge Bus” tour in 2010?  Santorum is the only GOP presidential candidate of this cycle who came to Iowa in the fall of 2010 to lend his voice to the campaign that led successfully got Iowans to vote three Iowa Supreme Court justices off the bench.  The architect of that campaign was one Chuck Laudner, who now is the architect of Santorum’s late surge here.  The groundwork for that Santorum/Laudner association was laid on that 2010 tour.

(A previous post incorrectly mentioned the 2007 Straw Poll rather than the 2011 Straw Poll. You knew what I meant.)

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Laurie Fisher says

    Hello, Kay! Just heard you on “Here and Now” on our local NPR station (KCUR). You were fabulous! Great analysis and commentary. Keep up the good work! Happy New Year!

    Laurie and Don

  2. Laurie Fisher says

    Refuse to moderate. 🙂