WASHINGTON — The Iowa Republican Party chairman said Thursday that if Sarah Palin seeks the presidency, she shouldn’t think she can win the GOP nomination without seriously participating in the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Matthew Strawn said Iowa caucus-goers do not want to be taken for granted and that they demand to meet — and be wooed by — presidential hopefuls. He said Iowans cherish their role in asking the tough questions at town halls, coffee shops and farm co-ops — and will punish candidates who ignore them.
“I don’t know why you’d want to take yourself out of the national conversation by not participating in Iowa,” Strawn said, suggesting voters would sour on any nominee who ignored the state in the nominating process. “I don’t think you can write off Iowa’s electoral votes if you’re the nominee.”
Palin advisers have suggested her national profile could allow her to enter the race late, perhaps in the fall, and still run a serious campaign. Her platform of Fox News Channel has helped introduce her to the social conservatives who dominate Iowa’s caucuses, and her non-traditional political style has thus far favored Facebook posts and Twitter messages over town halls or speeches.
“History would suggest that’s a very risky strategy,” Strawn said.
“One thing Iowans don’t want to be is taken for granted,” he said. “If you want the votes of the Iowa caucus-goers, you need to be in Iowa asking for them.”