by Steven Ertelt
August 12, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Mitt Romney won the Ames straw poll on Saturday in what was a preview of the strength of some of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president. With Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson not participating, Romney won the non-binding vote with the support of 31 percent of Republicans.
Mike Huckabee came in a surprising second with 18 percent and Sam Brownback placed third with 15 percent.
In an interview after the straw poll, Romney told reporters that the event was a success even though three of the other top contenders didn’t compete.
"I think if they thought they could have won, they would have been here," Romney said on Fox News Sunday. "If you can’t compete in the heartland, if you can’t compete in Iowa in August, how are you going to compete in January when the caucuses are held, and how are you going to compete in November of ’08?"
Romney, who says he became pro-life on the issue of abortion and embryonic stem cell research a couple of years ago, was expected to win the contest because he spent heavily organizing for it.
Huckabee surprised some of the other second-tier candidates to grab the second spot while spending very little leading up to the statewide event.
"It wasn’t just that we surprised people with a second showing, it’s that we did it with so few resources," Huckabee said Sunday. "This really was feeding the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves."
Meanwhile, Sam Brownback said his third place finish was enough to keep a strong campaign going until the caucuses, which will likely be held in early January. He also said he believed Romney hit a ceiling with his level of support and that he can continue to get backing from a sizable number of pro-life voters.
Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, both of whom are pro-life, finished in fourth and fifth place and will likely continue their uphill campaigns.
On the other hand, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson finished in sixth place and has already indicated he will drop out of the presidential campaign.