Advocates of the straw poll argue the money helps finance the caucuses, which are party-run, not state-run, elections.
Instead, Branstad's allies are urging the party to substitute the straw poll with a summer fundraiser, without a vote.
Without the straw poll, the caucuses may lure back all top-tier Republican contenders, Branstad's supporters say. That would raise the stakes for the caucuses by making them truly the first event to winnow the field.
"(The straw poll) was great in its time," said Iowa GOP strategist John Stineman. "It's time to move on."
Brian Bakst contributed from St. Paul, Minn.
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