Amid countless speeches from the likes of Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, J.C. Watts and rising star Marco Rubio to Mike Pence, Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, countless rally cries for change are echoing from throughout the ballrooms of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and into the political world.
Along with insightful and inspiring, pep-like speeches to motivate the conservative forces, there are countless workshops and organizational training classes that are aimed at allowing dedicated activists to focus their energies on the development of increasing effective grass development and activism.
Among one of the highlights of the annual conference is the CPAC Presidential Straw Poll. The results of the straw are a clear signal of whom the base of the Republican is most energized by and a hint of who has the base’s momentum as we move closer and closer to the presidential election.
For the last three years, former Governor Mitt Romney has taken that honor. Last year he won the CPAC just a day after he withdrew from the Republican presidential nomination contest that ultimately went to Senator John McCain.
This year the CPAC ballot consisted of eleven names Mitt Romney, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, former Alaska Governor and GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, South Dakota Senator John Thune, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman and perennial presidential candidate Ron Paul, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. A twelfth option was offered on the ballot in the reform of a space for voters to write-in any other preference that they may have.
Just moments ago, in what can only be seen as a surprie upset, the results of the straw poll were released and this is how it turned out:
- Ron Paul 31%
- Mitt Romney 22%
- Sarah Palin 7%
- Tim Pawlenty 6%
- Mike Pence 5%
Of the 10.000 people in attendance, only 2,400 cast a straw ballot and from the looks of things, the ever dilligent Ron Paul had his very loyal, vocal militant supporters passing out as many ballots as possible.
So although Congressman Paul can claim this victory, most people, including those in attendance at the CPAC conference, will tell you that no one expects Ron Paul to be the nominee of any major party in 2012.
Two good signs from this poll though are that even without a corrdinated push for a ballot position thi year, Mitt Romney remains to be a favorite. The other optimistic sign is Mike Pence’s 5th place showing.
As a relatively unknown Indiana Congressman, Mike Pence has made quite a name for himself, especially in the area of fiscal conservatism. Apparently that is beginning to catch the eye of many.