Herman Cain Whines About Ames

This is sort of ill-considered.

“By putting people on the ballot who didn’t pay, [the state party] has the potential to weaken Iowa’s status as the first in the nation caucus,” Cain spokesperson Ellen Carmichael told TPM.

Here’s what all the fuss is about: Cain, along with many other candidates, have paid big money for a prime slot at the Ames Straw Poll and are planning to pony up a lot more to pay their supporters to vote during the Republican party event. Tickets are $30 each and campaigns typically buy thousands to assure a good turnout at the event. That’s after they drop $10,000 or more for space at the event.

So what?

1) This is how the straw poll works. The campaigns’ up-front fees buy them space on the Ames fairgrounds. Campaigns that don’t buy space start at a disadvantage. Same goes with the tickets.

2) This isn’t the first year that candidates who haven’t shelled out have been eligible for the ballot. “The state central committee will decide final balloting on Saturday,” explains party spokesman Casey Mills. “There is no fee associated with being on the ballot and all candidates are free to encourage their supporters to come to poll and cast a ballot.”

3) If the party did punish candidates who bailed on the straw poll by bouncing their names, everyone would suffer. Right now, Cain has a strong shot at a news-making finish in Ames that puts him ahead of Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and John Huntsman, who are not playing in Ames. Strike them from the ballot and it’s… what? A Cain victory over Thaddeus McCotter? That’s hardly newsy, insofar as any of this is newsy.

It’s probably good for the Cain campaign to pick fights like this and remind voters that Romney’s stiffing a traditional GOP event. In the world outside of spin, it’s not not logical.