There was an important political news story yesterday that did not get much attention because of the media’s focus on the debt ceiling crisis: Texas Congressman Ron Paul won a big endorsement in Iowa. The Republican Party Chairman in Story County, Cory Adams, gave Paul his endorsement at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa, the county’s largest city.
So why was this big news? Because it should give Paul a significant boost in the Ames Straw Poll, scheduled for August 13th. The Ames Straw Poll is by far the most prominent of the several straw polls that will take place in Iowa between now and the first-in-the-nation caucuses on February 6th of next year. In fact, it is so consequential that it is often referred to simply as the Iowa Straw Poll.
While a strong showing in the Ames Straw Poll does not guarantee a candidate will win the Iowa caucuses, it is an important early test of a candidate’s popularity in the state. Candidates from the Midwest, like Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former governor Tim Pawlenty, are expected to do well. If a candidate from outside the region, like Ron Paul, were to perform unexpectedly well, real momentum could be gained for their candidacy both within the state and nationally as well.
So much for the background. I contacted Story County Republican Party Chairman Cory Adams yesterday and he was kind enough to agree to a brief email interview. What follows is an unedited transcript of our exchange:
RJ: Why specifically did you endorse Congressman Ron Paul?
CA: I’ve always had a great interest in the American Revolution and the principles and philosophies of our Founding Fathers. I guess you can say that sharing the same surname as two of the Revolution’s brightest stars helped spur my interest as a kid. This has led me in my adult life to seek out candidates who most closely resemble those of our Founders and likewise myself. After reading a few of Congressman Paul’s books, listening to his speeches, and studying his stances, especially his constitutional conservatism, I came to the conclusion that he most resembles and embodies what I was looking for in a presidential candidate. There are others in the Republican field, but Congressman Paul has the lengthy, consistent voting record to back that up.
RJ: Who was your second choice? That is, if Congressman Paul was not running, who would have received your endorsement?
CA: That’s a tough one…I’ve been really impressed by so many of them. I’d have to call it a tie between Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.
RJ: Do you believe Congressman Paul is the Republican candidate who has the best chance of defeating President Obama in the general election?
CA: I believe several of the current Republican candidates could win the general election against President Obama, but with every new country that the President decides to start bombing (Libya and Yemen come to mind) the President himself makes the best case for Congressman Paul’s non-interventionalist policies. And that I believe gives him an advantage over the rest of the Republican field.
RJ: Many believe that Congressman Paul’s foreign policy views are not representative of the Republican Party as a whole. What are your thoughts?
CA: I’m not so sure, I recall President George W. Bush running on the same type of platform (non-nation building, bringing our troops home from Germany and abroad) in 2000. While it’s true that the events of Sept. 11, 2001 have changed that view for some Republicans I really think there are more who are now more open to bringing our soldiers home. Perhaps not from Iraq and Afghanistan first, but from Germany, Japan, and other U.S. bases around the world.
RJ: Just how important of an issue is ethanol subsidies in Iowa? The way the national media reports on it, ethanol is seemingly the only issue that Iowans care about…
CA: To a large portion of Iowa, mostly the farmers and those in the agricultural industries it is a very important issue as it affects their way of life and their ability to maintain and operate their farms. However, I believe it’s time that Iowa farmers took a rather hard look at the ethanol subsidies, at least corn ethanol and start looking into Cellulosic ethanol technology.
RJ: Are there any unannounced candidates (Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, etc.) whose entrance into the race would cause you to potentially rethink your endorsement of Congressman Paul?
CA: No, however of the three you listed Perry, Christie, and Palin, I’d have to say that Christie would be the biggest temptation of doing so.