One in, one out in Republican race for the top

 

In what ended up as a revolving door weekend for the Republican presidential hopefuls, the former governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, exited the race yesterday, citing a poor showing in a non-binding straw poll of party voters in Iowa, just hours after Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, confirmed that he was coming in. Mr Pawlenty, who had seemed well positioned at first to build support, both among conservatives and social moderates in the party, had been faltering for weeks before he came in a distant third in the much vaunted Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, behind maverick libertarian Ron Paul and the Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

The drama of the weekend, which began with a feisty television debate in Ames on Thursday, thus brought the first winnowing out of the field of contenders for the nomination. While there is still almost six months before the state-by-state selection process begins, in the Iowa caucuses in February, there are signs now that it may quickly boil down to a three-way bout featuring Ms Bachmann, Governor Perry and Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, who has led in national polls for many weeks.

While Sunday's straw poll should not be taken as a serious predictor of things to come in the race – candidates essentially bribe supporters to show up and vote by offering transport and buying them tickets to participate – it can give a boost to those who do well.

Mr Paul, with his radical anti-war and anti-Federal Reserve diatribes, organised well, and has very wide student support, but is not likely to survive in the long-run.

Ms Bachmann, who has emerged as an unexpected challenge to Mr Romney, who did not participate in the Ames poll, will use the result to boost fundraising and begin building a national campaign network. "We're going person to person, state by state," she declared yesterday, starting with visits this week to the key early voting states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. Governor Perry announced in the latter and spoke to Republicans in the former on Saturday night.

The entry of Mr Perry could spell trouble for Mr Romney, who has been serene in his front-of-the-pack position all summer. The Texan got more write-in votes in Ames than Mr Romney, whose strategists will only hope that Mr Perry and Ms Bachmann split the conservative vote and let their man through.

That Mr Pawlenty, who told rural Iowans that President Barack Obama's policies were as helpful as a manure-spreader in a gale, chose to quit so quickly after Ames caught some by surprise. "We needed to get some lift to continue on and to have a pathway forward. That didn't happen," he told ABC News. "I wish it would have been different. But, obviously, the pathway forward for me doesn't really exist."

Anecdotal evidence suggested that he was abandoned at the last moment by some of his putative supporters, upset by the unexpectedly aggressive stance that he took at the Thursday's debate, particularly towards Ms Bachmann. The governor may have been over-correcting after being told by pundits and commentators that he had been insufficiently aggressive during a first debate two months ago.

Sue Matejka, 65, a retired defence company executive, admitted quietly, for example, that she had accepted a free ride on a Pawlenty-chartered bus to vote at the straw poll but in fact filled in the box for Ms Bachmann.

Suggested Topics
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week