AMES, Iowa (AP) As many as 40,000 Republicans are expected to
participate in Iowa's straw poll today.
It's a chance to winnow the GOP's field of presidential candidates.
The grounds around Iowa State University's basketball arena have a carnival atmosphere.
Candidates have erected huge air-conditioned tents where they're courting activists with food, prizes and plenty of rhetoric.
Many organizations are also on hand.
A spokeswoman for the state Republican Party says the event could raise more than one million dollars for the party. For their $35 ticket -- and an ID proving they're Iowans -- activists can cast a ballot for their favorite candidate.
Presidential hopefuls consider the straw poll a vital chance to demonstrate support that could help them this winter when Iowans hold precinct caucuses, an event that leads off the nominating process.