Mike Gallagher

Texas Republicans will be gathering by the thousands in Ft. Worth on August 31st and September 1st to participate in the first-ever Texas GOP Straw Poll.

Please allow me to refer to this event by its proper name: The Townhall.com Texas GOP Straw Poll. Yes, this website of political punditry, opinions and interviews, not to mention a talk radio showcase of pod casts, audio files, and news and information, is the sponsor and driving force behind this historic event.

I am incredibly honored and proud to be on the Townhall.com team during times like these. Heck, I’m excited to be part of Townhall.com all the time. Because the Townhall.com Straw Poll event is precisely what Townhall.com is all about: grassroots Americans enthusiastically taking part in the process that helps define our nation by its leaders. Men and women from all walks of life, of all ages and incomes, from big cities and the tiniest of towns, standing shoulder to shoulder and boldly voicing their vote with a roar that will be heard all over the United States of America.

It’s the kind of event that sends chills up my spine.

Even before I knew anything about next week’s festivities, I had never been much of a fan of the Iowa Straw Poll. Sure, it’s a terrific fundraiser for the Iowa Republicans, which is certainly good for them. But the formula is predictable and uneventful: the candidate who decides to spend the most money by bringing in as many supporters as they can afford will win. And everyone knows well in advance which candidate that will be.

In Iowa’s case, it was Gov. Mitt Romney. Once his closest competitors saw the handwriting on the wall, for them it was: bye-bye, Iowa, on to the next campaign stop.

With the Iowa Straw Poll, there’s no political drama, no surprises, just a wonderful gathering of good-hearted Republicans who watch the candidate who spent the most money take the prize.

But in Texas, it will be quite different. Instead of delegates who are bought and paid for (and I don’t mean that in a corrupt way), the Townhall.com Texas GOP Straw Poll is open to all Republicans who have previously attended a state or national convention.

In other words, all active Texas Republicans will be able to vote for the candidate of their choice.

The absence of a bankrolled voting process is going to make the Texas Straw Poll a very, very compelling Labor Day weekend. The nation will undoubtedly be watching it very closely because it might just be the first and most accurate barometer of things to come.

Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher is a nationally syndicated radio host, Fox News Channel contributor and guest host and author of 50 Things Liberals Love to Hate.