Romney Retreats From Iowa Straw Poll

By THOMAS BEAUMONT | June 9, 2011 | 8:00 PM EDT

Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney meets with entrepreneurs at Bizdom U in Detroit, Thursday, June 9, 2011. Bizdom U is a business development center to help entrepreneurs start up businesses in the state. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Aides to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney say he won't compete in the Iowa Republican Straw Poll in August, an event he spent more than $1 million to win four years ago.

Gearing up for the straw poll would divert time and money from a 2012 Romney campaign aimed at presenting the former Massachusetts governor as a national candidate who does not need the lift the event in the leadoff caucus state can provide little-known candidates.

Romney is also not participating in the Florida straw poll set for September, or any other of the non-binding contests in early voting states.

Romney says he plans to campaign in Iowa and will participate in the debate in Iowa sponsored by Fox News two days before the Aug. 13 straw poll in Ames.

Romney to skip Iowa GOP, Florida straw polls