Republican Party of Iowa's Official Presidential Straw Poll
Ames, IA   August 14, 1999
Copyright 1999 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.  All rights reserved.

"Only an independent outsider can break the selfish grip of the Washington elites on our national life."           [transcript]


The Tent Scene

The Forbes campaign put its bus total at 109.  Supporters in distinctive orange tee-shirts enjoyed food from Hickory Park Barbecue (the campaign eventually ran out of food and had to order pizza). Debby Boone, Ronnie Milsap and Beverly Ellis as well as the local group The Blue Band provided music.  Kids romped in a play area which featured a giant inflated mountain and slide.  Dignitaries present included Paul Weyrich, Congressman Bob Barr and national campaign chairman and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.
Steve Forbes has made a major commitment of time and money in Iowa since his 1996 campaign, and he needed a strong showing in the straw poll.  In 1997-98, through his issues advocacy organization Americans for Hope, Growth and Opportunity (AHGO), Forbes made 13 trips to Iowa totalling 16 days.  In the first six months of 1999 he added another 8 days. 

Starting on June 2, 1999 the Forbes campaign began running a major advertising campaign in Iowa and other key states; a second round of ads followed beginning on July 26.  On the eve of the straw poll the Forbes campaign aired a half hour program in which Forbes, joined by Steve Grubbs and Nancy Streck, took callers' questions. 

Forbes has built one of the larger campaign organizations in Iowa.  And he has put in time in the state. Forbes did events in 77 counties in his pre-straw poll bus tour, which ran in two legs from July 11-17 and July 25 through to the straw poll (with just one break for the Midwest Leadership Conference). 
(August 12, 1999) On the second leg of his Iowa bus tour Steve Forbes spoke to a crowd at the Historical Complex in Winterset. 

Outcome: Second--4,921 Votes (20.8%)
Forbes obtained 4,921 votes, finishing second. 

After the results were announced, Steve Forbes spoke to reporters on the floor of the Hilton Coliseum:

...The real message tonight is principles is how you win an election.  No message, no victory.  We showed tonight that substance beats glitz.  That gratifies our faith in the Iowa voters and ultimately in the American voters.

QUESTION: Mr. Forbes, how did you show that substance beats glitz tonight?

We did it by the fact that everyone, virtually everyone, in the pundit world, in the media world, in the Washington lobbyist establishment had proclaimed Governor Bush the winner far in advance.  Now we see we have a vigorous contest. 

I visited almost 80 counties in recent weeks, going from town to town, county to county giving my positive message.  That's how we got the turnout today--the power of the message--delivering the message and the people came.  That is immensely gratifying.

QUESTION: inaudible

I think the choice is very clear right now, between a status quo establishment that's content just to work around the edges versus an independent outsider who wants to make positive, substantive change.  You can see it in the proposals I've put forth on the tax code; you can see what I've put forth on Social Security, education, health care, farm prices, the life issue.  All substance.  Substance is how you win...