Iowa GOP Holds Huge Straw Poll

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.

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