• 5 Replacements for the Iowa Straw Poll

    If Iowa's Republican Governor Terry Branstad has his way, one of the dumbest events in the presidential election cycle will soon disappear…

    "I think the straw poll has outlived its usefulness," Mr. Branstad said of the 33-year-old GOP ritual. "It has been a great fundraiser for the party but I think its days are over."

    Going back to 1979, Republican presidential contenders have flocked to Ames, Iowa in August to eat fried food, dance to country bands and wheedle votes from the party faithful in what amounts to an overblown party fund-raiser disguised as a trial run for the real Iowa caucuses early the next year.

    But what will replace the Iowa Straw Poll as the over-hyped event of the political season?

    1. Virginia's Shad Planking, our nation's funniest sounding political event, involves grilling bony fish and "lighthearted speeches" by state political leaders.

    2.  New Hampshire Pancake Flip. Any event that leaves a GOP presidential candidate sprawling on the floor deserves wider attention.

    3. The Romney Family Olympics. Though Republican activists are doing their best to drum Romney out of the party, there's no reason why his family's annual New Hampshire-based competition shouldn't become a go-to Republican event.

    4. The actual Iowa Caucuses. Pretty much as ridiculous as the straw poll.

    5. Try something new. Perhaps a Reagan Maze: Construct an Iowa corn maze in the shape of Ronald Reagan's head. The first to emerge from the maize is the winner. Alternatively, a Chick-fil-A eating contest.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Iowa, Iowa Straw Poll, Terry Branstad


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