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Rick Perry Left Off Ames Straw Poll Ballot

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WASHINGTON -- The Iowa Republican Party's central committee decided Saturday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's name will not be on the ballot at the upcoming straw poll in Ames.

The Aug. 13 straw poll could prove a key early indicator of which Republican presidential candidates have the most support in the Hawkeye State.

Perry has not declared himself a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, and so he was left off the ballot, even though some members of the party's central committee had said earlier in the week they were pushing for him to be included.

None of the other potential candidates who have yet to officially launch a campaign -- such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- were placed on the ballot either, a sign that the Iowa GOP leaders prefer to encourage narrowing the field rather than broadening it.

Several candidates whose campaigns have not purchased a section of the grounds at the straw poll, but who have declared their candidacies -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) -- were allowed on the Ames ballot.

Americans for Rick Perry, an advocacy group, has been active in Iowa to recruit support for Perry in the event he does run. The group was already told earlier this week that it could not set up a tent or any other space to promote the Texas governor on the straw poll's grounds, which encompass much of the campus of Iowa State University in Ames.

Craig Schoenfeld, who runs the Iowa chapter of the Perry group, told The Huffington Post earlier this week that he was already shifting the group's focus away from the straw poll after the state party's ruling. But the decision to leave Perry off the Ames ballot was another blow to those hoping for a boost around the time he could announce his candidacy.

"The state party made a decision to not let our organization on the straw poll grounds," Schoenfeld told HuffPost Saturday by email. "They made a decision to not let Governor Perry or others on the ballot. It was their decision to make and we will abide by that."

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