3:15 p.m. (CDT)
A key question has been arising at Iowa’s political pig roast Saturday: Will the Republican presidential straw poll survive?
Several 2016 hopefuls have said they will not participate in the carnival-like summer event that draws thousands of Iowa party activists. But the event appears to be on shaky ground.
Sen. Joni Ernst hosted Saturday’s pork roast at the same site selected for the poll and says the candidates should join in.
Ernst said Saturday that whether they opt out or not, she wants them to “visit Iowa as much as possible.”
State GOP officials have fought to keep the Aug. 8 event alive. But critics say the poll has become a costly sideshow.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham say they plan to skip the poll. Graham said Saturday that participating was not a good return on investment.
11:30 a.m. (CDT)
Jack Zimmerman says he’ll do whatever he can to elect Rick Perry president.
Zimmerman and lots of other veterans converged on a hotel in Perry, Iowa, to hear from the former Texas governor, who’s running again for president.
It’s the fifth anniversary of Zimmerman’s first deployment to Afghanistan. He was severely wounded after stepping on an explosive device and had his legs amputated.
Zimmerman says he met Perry during a hunting excursion for wounded veterans and they have stayed in touch. Zimmerman was in a San Antonio hospital for rehabilitation.
Perry is set to lead a motorcycle ride later Saturday to raise money for an organization that provides service dogs to wounded veterans.
Perry will end up in Boone, Iowa, where a number of Republican presidential contenders are giving speeches.
11:15 a.m. (CDT)
Scott Walker is all decked out in his Harley-Davidson gear — jacket, boots, gloves, even down to his wallet.
The Wisconsin governor and 2016 Republican president hopeful is joining Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst for a 40-mile motorcycle ride to kick off her “Roast and Ride” fundraiser.
Saturday’s ride is from Des Moines to Boone, where Walker and some other White House contenders will give speeches.
Walker and lots of bikers have gathered at a Harley-Davidson store before the trip. The governor chatted enthusiastically with others about riding bikes.
10:45 a.m. (CDT)
Rev up and pig out — it’s time for a new kind of event on Iowa’s presidential calendar.
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s “Roast and Ride” is debuting Saturday, and she hopes it’ll become a tradition on the state’s political circuit.
The first-term Republican lawmaker is set to lead a 40-mile motorcycle ride from Des Moines to Boone with a group of military veterans and a likely presidential candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
In Boone, Ernst is hosting a pig roast that will feature speeches from Walker and six other GOP hopefuls.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry just got into the race, and he’s planning to take a different route to Boone on his motorcycle ride.
Ernst says the event will be a “good Iowa time.”
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