Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee first made presidential waves at the Iowa Straw Poll eight years ago. This year, he's skipping it entirely.
“Conservative and hard-working Iowans want a strong and principled conservative Republican nominee for president who represents their values. I have concluded this year's Iowa straw poll will serve only to weaken conservative candidates and further empower the Washington ruling class and their hand-picked candidates,” he wrote, becoming the second major candidate to announce he will not participate in the event this year.
Of course, his odds this year were looking just a bit longer -- a recent poll of Iowa Republicans found the former Arkansas governor in a statistical tie with three other candidates, trailing frontrunner Scott Walker by double digits.
The Iowa GOP has gone to great lengths to make changes to the high-profile event, which has faced growing scrutiny from campaigns and reporters alike over the high costs of participating. (The Washington Post wrote about the many reforms detailed by the state party earlier this month.)
But candidates have been slow to commit. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, an early establishment favorite, announced through his campaign-in-waiting last week that he would skip the event in favor of campaigning elsewhere in the state.
Bush's decision -- while notable -- was not a huge shock, given the tough odds he faces in the early-voting state. Huckabee's is more of a surprise
The only potential White House contender to commit to competing in the Aug. 8 straw poll so far: real estate mogul Donald Trump.