-- It's official: Tthe Iowa Straw Poll is dead for 2015.
"I've said since December that we would only hold a straw poll if the candidates wanted one, and this year that is just not the case," Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement. "For that reason I called a special meeting to update the State Central Committee, which then voted unanimously this morning to cancel the event. This step, while extremely distasteful for those of us who love the Straw Poll, is necessary to strengthen our First in the Nation status and ensure our future nominee has the best chance possible to take back the White House in 2016."
"Michele Bachmann's straw poll glow didn't even last 24 hours in 2011," long-time Iowa GOP operative Tim Albrecht told ABC News. "There's a case to be made that ultimately the work you do piling away to the caucuses is what really matters. A lot of people point to her."
But even as recently as last month, Kaufmann, the party chair, was taking steps to save it. He wrote a letter that appeared in Politico outlining changes to ensure the poll is affordable to all candidates:
"Here in Iowa, so long as a Republican candidate can afford the plane ticket to Iowa, they are welcome in Boone on August 8," wrote Kaufmann. The Iowa Republican Party announced that they would no longer allow campaigns to pay for real estate or provide food for attendees.
As Albrecht noted: “The straw poll’s future was always going to be determined by the candidates and their level of participation.”
In the end, the proposed reforms, were not enough to keep the straw poll alive.
"Many candidates are still concerned about participating in an event that carries significant media-driven expectations well ahead of our First in the Nation Caucuses," Kaufmann said in a statement on Friday. "While we still deeply believe that the Straw Poll offers a fantastic opportunity for candidates, we need to focus on strengthening our First in the Nation status and putting a Republican back in the White House. Canceling the event is not a decision anyone on the State Central Committee took lightly."