7:30pm August 17, 2011

Did Michele Bachmann Buy Her Iowa Straw Poll Votes to Win?

Michele Bachmann Iowa Straw Poll

A political website, Unelected, yesterday alleged that Michelle Bachmann was able to beat out second runner up Ron Paul to win the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa by paying for her votes.  The poll, first held in 1979, occurs in Ames, Iowa, often coinciding with a state fair there, and is used to poll state Republican residents during years when there is not an incumbent Republican as president.

The site points out that Bachmann spent up to $1 million by hiring Randy Travis to perform for 6,000 fans and bussing in 152 of Travis’ fans into an event.  In exchange for $30 valued tickets, concert goers had to register at Bachmann’s table and vote in the straw polls.

Members of Bachmann’s campaign handed out flyers requiring people to vote for Bachmann in order to see the entertainment.  Bachmann collected 4823 votes to win and narrowly beat out second-place finisher Congressman Ron Paul who got 4671 votes.   Not all concert goers voted for Bachmann, but arguably, she most likely did secure a substantial number of votes from that marketing ploy to win enough votes.

Certainly, winning in the Iowa straw poll does not secure a win in the Republican primary or the general election as Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, Pat Robertson have all held that honor in the past and none has gone on to win the presidency.  However, the Bachmann stunt may have contributed to at least one candidate dropping out of the race early.

Shortly after the straw poll, third place finisher Tim Pawlenty decided to drop out of the race.   But for the Bachmann stunt, Pawlenty may have placed higher and may have opted against ending his campaign so early.

About the Author

Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt represents small, women, and minority owned business and technology companies at The Ghatt Law Group LLC, the nations’ first communications law firm owned by women and minorities. She's won landmark cases on behalf of her clients which include national civil rights and public interest organizations. In addition to actively authoring several blogs, being a radio show host and sitting on the boards of three non-profits, she is a tech junkie who has been developing online web content since the very early years of the Internet, 1991 to be precise! Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks, on her blog, Jenebaspeaks, which covers the intersection of politics and technology or on her Politics of Raising Children blog at The Washington Times Communities section.



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  1. mgpthoc

    Obama promised free insurance to everyone, "put gas in my car and pay house morgage if I vote from him" was the matra. Is this not the same as "paying" for votes? The Dems rammed that "Act" down our tghraost yet did not pass a budget for two years (and blame "TEA" party) Buy votes with someone elses money? At least MB used her own money?

  2. You make absolutely NO sense.

  3. My congratulations to the state of Iowa.NO TO THE STATEHOOD FOR PUERTO RICO.Thanks.

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