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With announcement out of the bag, Ron Paul begins new media campaign

In the wake of his announcement today he is running for President, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has also established a website to inform and encourage attendance of Iowa’s August straw poll, campaign officials said this afternoon.

The site is also selling straw poll tickets for $20, or $10 if purchased before July 4.

The Iowa Straw Poll, a highly anticipated event by Republican presidential candidates and political enthusiasts alike, will be Aug. 13 in Ames. Iowa GOP officials said late last year presidential candidates will also be invited to a debate co-hosted by FOX News and the Republican Party of Iowa in conjunction with this year’s event.

For Republican presidential contenders, the Ames Straw Poll is the first opportunity to show their grassroots fortitude in the Hawkeye State. Many rent buses and offer perks to supporters who are willing to attend the event and cast their ballot. Since the whole affair is essentially a major fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa, some have opined that the party itself is the one true winner of the event.

In 2007, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the winner of the Ames Straw Poll with 31.6 percent of the votes cast. Ultimate Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee took second place with just over 18 percent of votes. Paul, who garnered 9.1 percent of votes, finished in fifth place.

On caucus night 2008, Huckabee gathered nearly 35 percent of GOP support, while Romney had just over 25 percent. Paul improved from the Ames Straw Poll from a percentage standpoint — he garnered 9.93 percent of supporters — but once again landed in fifth place. Eventual GOP presidential nominee John McCain placed fourth in Iowa.

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