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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mitt Romney won't participate in Fla, IA, or MI straw polls

Sorry Florida Republicans, but Mitt Romney won't be lavishing the kind of attention and money on you that many activists had expected.
The Republican presidential frontrunner's campaign said Friday night it will not be participating in the Florida GOP's "Presidency 5" straw poll in September - or any other heavily hyped non-binding election this year. It's a sharp departure from four years ago when Romney spent millions on early grass roots organizing and efforts to boost his momentum in Florida and other key states.
“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. "We respect the straw poll process.  In the last presidential campaign we were both strengthened as an organization and learned some important lessons by participating in them.  This time we will focus our energies and resources on winning primaries and caucuses. We look forward to bringing Mitt Romney’s strong pro-jobs message to every part of the country.”
So-called straw polls are non-binding elections which in political campaigns typically feature the most die-hard activists. While officially meaningless, they can help shape perceptions and expectations for candidates.

"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, R-St. Augustine, a prominent Romney backer. "I know first-hand from Mitt that he is committed to campaigning in Florida throughout the primary process and am very happy to hear that he will also participate in the P5 debate."

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[Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 8:00pm]


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