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Mike Huckabee skips out on Iowa Straw Poll

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks as he officially announces his candidacy for the 2016 Presidential race on May 5, 2015 in Hope, Arkansas.

Matt Sullivan, Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is skipping the Iowa straw poll in August, making him the third in the potential GOP field to pass on the event.

The former Arkansas governor penned an editorial in the Des Moines Register, saying he would rather focus his campaign resources on the caucuses.

"I have concluded this year's Iowa straw poll will serve only to weaken conservative candidates and further empower the Washington ruling class and their hand-picked candidates," Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 after a second place finish in the straw poll, wrote. "Past winners in recent straw polls didn't result in caucus victories, and we want to dedicate our resources and focus our volunteers in Iowa towards the caucuses, which matter greatly in determining our next president."

The former Fox News star joins two other possible presidential candidates who have said on the record that they too will forego the poll. Last week, the Register reported that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will skip out on the conservative contest. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is still "testing the waters" of a 2016 bid for the White House, has also told Radio Iowa in March that he would not be participating in the quadrennial event.

Huckabee hinted that his decision was spurred by his limited campaign funds.

"One of the decisions each Republican candidate for president will have to make leading up to the caucuses is whether to invest the resources to participate in this year's August straw poll," the presidential hopeful said. "I appreciate the Iowa GOP for recognizing the need for some reforms, but playing to win in the straw poll still requires a heavy concentration of staff and financial resources."

The poll, which will be held at the Central Iowa Expo in Boone this year, surveys state Republicans ahead of the nation's first caucuses. Though conservative activists have long used the event as a big-money fundraiser for the state GOP, the contest has come under fire in recent election years for its inaccuracy in accurately predicting caucus winners. In August 2011, for example, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann rose in her national profile after soundly winning the straw poll in Ames. But by the time Iowa's January caucuses came around, the congresswoman ended up dead last.

"I think the straw poll has outlived its usefulness," Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad had said in 2012. "It has been a great fundraiser for the party, but I think its days are over."