The Iowa Republican State Central Committee announced the Republican presidential candidates that will qualify for the Aug. 13 Ames Straw Poll, but left off one of the most prominent potential contenders from the ballot.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry will not be listed on the ballot, even as he's seriously considering a campaign. Also left off is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who hasn't made up her mind whether to run but still polls in double-digits. Six candidates paid the $15,000 fee to qualify: Reps. Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Thaddeus McCotter; businessman Herman Cain, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Craig Schoenfeld, the Iowa executive director of Americans for Perry, told the Des Moines Register it was "unfortunate" that Perry wasn't included.
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The Iowa Republican Party's central committee decided Saturday to list three other candidates: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich.
The winner of the straw poll takes away little more than bragging rights, but it is a crucial test for several candidates who have placed their bets on performing well in Iowa - Pawlenty, Bachmann and Santorum, in particular.
Pawlenty, who has campaigned in the state for months, aired three different television ads and assembled a sizable staff, has the most riding on the poll's outcome. After months of low poll ratings, a strong showing would prove that Pawlenty is still in the game.