BREAKING: Romney to Skip Ames Straw Poll

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s emerging frontrunner, has opted out of the quadrennial straw poll in Ames, Iowa, later this summer, according to CNN.

“Our campaign has made the decision to not participate in any straw polls, whether it’s in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else,” said Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades in a statement issued a short while ago.

Romney had campaigned heavily in Iowa in 2008 — winning the state’s 2007 Ames Straw Poll with 32 percent of the vote — but ultimately finished second to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the critical Iowa caucuses five months later.

Romney’s decision also means that he won’t be actively competing in Florida’s much-hyped P5 Straw Poll in Orlando in September.

“The campaign’s decision to not participate in any straw polls makes strategic sense. Florida is an expensive state to campaign in. As a candidate that has already proven his organizational strength and support in Florida, it’s smart for him to focus his time and resources on winning the actual primary,” said state Sen. John Thrasher, a former GOP state chairman.

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