Des Moines, Iowa — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he won’t participate in the Iowa Straw Poll, where he competed and placed second eight years ago.

In an opinion piece published Thursday in The Des Moines Register, Huckabee said his resources are better spent on other efforts. He argued that the straw poll is likely to draw only conservative candidates and that the competition could weaken them.

Huckabee has declared his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. In 2008, he won the Iowa caucuses but did not win the nomination.

State GOP officials have fought to keep the Aug. 8 event alive. But critics say the poll has become a costly sideshow.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will skip the poll and attend a conservative gathering in Georgia.

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