WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Values Voter Summit's 2012 presidential straw poll Saturday, grabbing nearly 29 percent of the vote in a crowded field.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence each won roughly 12 percent of the 597 votes cast.
Four of the top five candidates addressed religious conservatives at the three-day Values Voter conference in Washington this week - the kind of attendance seen as a significant gesture by activists here, especially in an off-election year. Palin did not make an appearance.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which hosted the conference, said Saturday that Huckabee had "potential," but stressed that the former governor's strong showing wouldn't translate into automatic support from the FRC's political action committee. "We want a fully-rounded conservative candidate," he said. "Right now, the door's wide open."
Mitt Romney's remarks here this week touched on social issues, but focused on economic and security policy. By contrast, Huckabee's speech dismissed calls for social and religious conservatives to move toward the center. "I'm not sure the center makes a whole lot of sense when it's coming from people who certainly don't have our interest, or our country's interest, at heart," he said.
The former Baptist minister nabbed a surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses last year, largely on the strength of grassroots support from religious conservative voters.
In his summit speech earlier Saturday, Romney stressed his unbroken string of conference appearances. Romney - a Mormon who has long made an effort to connect with evangelical voters - had nabbed victories in several similar recent measures of conservative presidential preference, including the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll earlier this year, and the last Values Voter Summit contest, held in 2007. He narrowly defeated Huckabee that year in a vote that was open to voters who cast their ballots over the Web. This year's vote was limited to conference attendees.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were the other candidates on the straw poll ballot. All grabbed single-digit shares of the vote.
The FRC said Saturday that they believed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of their 16 top congressional targets for 2010, was looking increasingly vulnerable. Other names on the list are Tom Perriello, Steve Driehaus, Glenn Nye, Betsy Markey, Walt Minnick, Parker Griffith, Alice Titus, Mary-Jo Kilroy, Ann Kirkpatrick, John Boccieri, and John Murtha in House races, and Robin Carnahan, Michael Bennet, Paul Hodes, Christopher Dodd and Harry Reid on the Senate side, all Democrats.
Follow Rebecca Sinderbrand on Twitter: @sinderbrandrcnn
Too bad Huckaby's political philosophy will hurt Seniors on pensions and social security, middle income Americans, and the poor in America just like all the other Republican, so called conservative, candidates.
You cant pass laws and make people Honest, Truthful, or believe in God, but if thoese who claim to be belivers in the Christian Faith would use the most powerful weapon on earth PRAYER and pray our leaders would turn back to The Lord or be removed from power our problems would soon be a thing of the past. Its time Christians quit trying to defeat EVIL alone but let GOD fight the battle for them.
So Huck sucked up to the moral majority crowd the most huh? What a guy. I was hoping "spanky" Duvall would win, he represents Republican "values" the best.
Huckabee a "Surprise Winner" with Values Voters? Really?? How about Marilyn Manson or Snoop Dogg. Now THAT would be a surprise.
The very mention of Newt Gingrich, hypocrite par excellence, and Sarah Palin, wacked out former beauty queen, in this poll indicates its utter irrelevance.
Guess what?-hypothetically, if the republicans won all of the races they mentioned as vulnerable, the Democrats would still have majorities in both the house and senate!
Why is this a surprise? Look at the field. Would you buy a used car from any of them (and I include Palin)?
if it's huckabee against obama, obama will win a second term. probably independents and some republicans won't vote for a former baptist minister. sure huckabee will get the support of the republican base but it won't be enough to beat obama as mccain and palin found out.
"IF" the US survives Obama. We might be owned by someone else, if we don't ACT NOW! Obama needs to be IMPEACHED, PRONTO!
What The Huck!
Back to the drawing board, TPaw - you're going to have to come with some even bigger, even more ludicrous lies about your "successes" in Minnesota to appeal to the "value-less" voters.
Or maybe you should have an affair and blame it on the Democrats. That will bring the looney Republican fringe to your defense!
If so here comes the anti-Christ!
I am a life-long conservative Republican, and believe that we have to turn up a better candidate than Huckabee. He has the name recognition, due to Fox show, but I don't know if he can establish the countrywide appeal which is necessary to win the presidency. To me, he's a little too "Mister Rogers." I find him difficult to listen to.....same for Sarah Palin.
Wow, I wanna vote with people who think dinosaur bones are the devil's tricks.
Does Huck truly and honestly believe that the center doesn't have the interest of the country at heart???really??? I expected much more from him then pandering. As for cnn....why is it the only time you mention a False statement by Fox is when the subject of the lie is your company. I see You have no problem in identifying lies when your company is accused falsely, but where is your ethics when a story is published on your site or broadcast you know to be false...where is your outrage then CNN?
Religion should not be part of politics. Race should not be part of politics yet they both are.
If these candidates spent as much time on the real issues instead of on race and religion, we might get something done.
If they spent less time on blasting our president instead of helping him, we might have a better country.
They are interested in only their own agend whether it is good for America or not..Egotists to the top degree.....
Get religion out of politics.Get race olut of politics. Neither one helps the situation.
Religion is all myth anyway and race is the same. We are all one under the skin, not black, white, or yellow and religion is all manmade so get it out of politics and change the world in a positie way.
Huckabee- stay strong. You are the ONLY conservative that I would vote for. There is NO other possible candidate in the Republican party that I have faith in anymore.
Oh please oh please oh please oh please...
I think the time has come for this country to have an honest discussion about what is TRUE conservatism and what is NOT.
While I am not a "conservative" myself, I DO understand that there is a HUGE diffenrence between TRUE conservatism, represented by people like Ron Paul, and THEOCRATISM, represented by people like Mike Huckabee and Dr. James Dobson (As well as the late Francis Schaeffer, D. James Kennedy, and Jerry Falwell).
A TRUE conservative wants to reduce the Federal governments role in regulating our personal lives as much as possible. This applies not only to economic issues, but also to social issues as well.
Religious Theocrats, however, are a completely diffent story. They want to subjegate the entire country to Judeo-Christian Theocratic Law. They want the Federal Government to regulate our personal lives according to their interpretation of what they believe the Bible teaches. They believe that our personal freedoms and liberties as Americans MUST be subjegated, by law, to the teachings of Scripture. This is NOT conservatism. This is THEOCRATISM.
There many theocrats, like Huckabee and Dobson, who like to identify themselves as "conservatives." But in reality, they are NOT true conservatives at all.
I believe the Republican party, over the next few years, is going to have to make a difficult choice. Are they going to be a TRUE conservative party? Or are they going to be a Religious Theocratic party?
As I said before, I think the time has come for us to have an open and honest discussion about what TRUE consevatism is, and what it is NOT.
Mike Huckabee is NOT a conservative.
Come on down hahahahahahaha
This group needs to go and stay in church and leave the important stuff to sane and logical people.
Well, one has to look on the bright side CNN...at least your political reporters will have work , at least until 2012. And to think you thought God didn't answer prayers! smile
Just one more conservative idiot to deal with next time around. We can hardly wait till the Republicans start having there Town Hall meetings. What goes around will come around ten fold. And they are going to get it.
Nice!! They are already working towards being elected President of the United States. U-N-I-T-E-D we are not. Support our present President Republicans and shock the nation. Divisiveness has no part in our country. Stop the demoralizing of our current President and roll up your sleeves and work on behalf of the people. ALL PEOPLE not just your own ideological views. We need to address ALL AMERICANS, ethnic groups, religions, sexual preference, and class. When we are UNITED on these views we can truely move forward in this country. Moving towards and idea that all americans make up America will be a start but republican party I will align myself with the party who is more in line with the people. Every year I ask myself if I can be a part of your party and I am stumped at not being in line with your party. I think indirectly your party does not include all americans. At your next conference remind your party that America is not just white, rich, christian and my head will start turning in your direction to listen. Until then my republicans I will just tune you out.