It may come as a surprise to former Congressman Anthony Weiner, but the best way to judge a politician’s efficacy is by the size of his… uh, tent. At least that’s how it works at the Iowa Republican Straw Poll in Ames. Judging by the site awarded to candidate Ron Paul, the good doctor plans on having a lot of supporters in his tent. (I’ll be one of them.)
The straw poll is held in and around the Hilton Coliseum on the ISU campus which is sectioned off and lots are “auctioned” off to the respective campaigns. Of course not all lots are equal and the choicest spots go to those who cough up the most cash. (The proceeds go to the Iowa GOP.) According to the Iowa Republican (which listed Ron Paul as one of the big winners of the straw poll real estate auction):
The Ron Paul Revolution will take center stage at the Iowa Straw Poll now that Paul has purchased the same lot that has hosted the previous two winners of the event, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. Paul had to pay a hefty price, $31,000, but the space is the closest of any other to the voting locations. The elevated walkways that will surround the Paul compound make it an ideal spot for the media to use as a backdrop.
This will be quite different than when I attended the event in 2007. Back then the deep-pocketed candidates (like Romney) were in the center of the action and had huge tents, catered meals, bands, and carnival rides. Dr. Paul’s lot was a bit off the beaten path and I can only recall one open-sided picnic tent. He had some local garage bands and campaign volunteers grilled a few hotdogs. (That was still better than 1999 when I supported Alan Keyes. His small space was literally out in a parking lot. He had a small GI pup tent set up and he and I split a Fresca. Okay, I made that last part up.)
This time Ron Paul appears to one of the major players at the event. Unlike 2007, Ron Paul will be providing charter bus transportation for supporters to get to the event. The IowaForRonPaul website boasts that Dr. Paul’s tent will include free food, drinks, literature, music and games. Before supporters had to pay their own way into the event, this year Paul’s campaign is subsidizing the tickets so supporters only pay $10 for everything, including transportation.
If you’d like to attend, you can order your ticket at http://www.iowaforronpaul.com/.