First Iowa presidential debate announced for August 2011

The first Republican presidential debate to take place in Iowa is scheduled for August 2011 at the Ames Straw Poll.

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn announced Thursday the straw poll will also play host to the state's first debate between its 2012 presidential contenders.

The event, which will be held at the Iowa State University campus in Ames, is traditionally considered a benchmark test for the candidates' grassroots organizations.

Strawn said the state party is partnering with FOX News to host the debate and urged candidates to participate.
 
"Candidates come face to face with tens of thousands of Iowans at the straw poll, and will reach every corner of our state and a national audience in our presidential debate," Strawn said in a statement. "Candidates who perform well here will enjoy a national boost in support."

The first debates in New Hampshire, which holds its primary after Iowa, have already been announced. No Republicans have declared their candidacy yet for the 2012 nomination.