Republicans in Iowa have decided to carry on with their presidential straw poll, a political tradition that detractors decry as a sideshow.
Despite criticism from some prominent Republicans, the Republican Party of Iowa's central committee unanimously voted Saturday to keep the event going.
Committee members said the poll energizes the party base and serves as an important early test of campaign strength. The event will be held in August.
First conducted in 1979, the Iowa straw poll has grown from a county GOP fundraiser stop to a large event on the Iowa State University campus, where candidates spend heavily to entertain supporters.
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