Allotting the Lots for Iowa Straw Poll 2007

By Eric M. Appleman with much assistance, June 29, 2007 --  The campaigns will feed and entertain their supporters in the parking lots and spaces around the Hilton Coliseum.  The Republican Party of Iowa created a map, dividing up this space into 11 lots ranging in size from 34,950 square feet to 61,923 square feet, and on Friday, June 22 (eight weeks out) the party held an auction for these lots in a meeting room at the State Historical Building.  The minimum bid was $15,000.  Only representatives from the campaigns, Iowa GOP executive director Chuck Laudner and political director Craig Robinson were present.  Each campaign was allowed to have up to three representatives.  Of the eight campaigns, Romney and Brownback both had three people, others two or one, while Hunter had no one present but sent in a $15,000 bid for a lot to be assigned to him.  About 15 people were seated around a conference table, with Laudner at a podium at the head of the table and Robinson, seated to his left.

Some of the lots are clearly more desirable than others.  Lots 7 and 8 are directly adjacent to the Hilton Coliseum, while lots 1 through 6 are arrayed along the side, 10 is tucked in the back, and 9 and 11 are to be used as campaign sites only if necessary.  In the words of one participant, "Everyone assumed Romney would take lot 7, no matter how high it went."  Indeed the Romney campaign opened with a $25,000 bid for lot 7, and nobody challenged.  Brownback went in at $20,000 for lot 8 and nobody challenged.  The remainder of the lots went at close to the minimum bid with very little competition.  In addition to the campaigns, American Solutions for Winning the Future (Newt Gingrich's 527 organization), the National Rifle Association, and Americans for Fair Taxation have purchased "vendor lots."

Lot 1: 434' x 260' (60,393 square feet)
Lot 2: 430' x 222' (55,347 square feet)
Lot 3:  230' x 183' (41,805 square feet)
Lot 4: 230' x 183' (41,805 square feet)
Lot 5: 230' x 183' (41,805 square feet)
Lot 6: 295' x 210' (61,923 square feet)
Lot 7: 307' x 195' (57,080 square feet)
Lot 8: 308' x 175' (49,700 square feet)
Lot 9: 260' x 155' (40,530 square feet)
Lot 10: 220' x 218' (44,923 square feet)
Lot 11: 222' x 160' (34,950 square feet)

Note: By comparison in 1999 Bush bid $40,000 for the same lot as Romney, and Forbes bid $10,000 for lot picked by Brownback.
Copyright ©  2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action