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.
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Gov. Huckabee is a straight shooting honest politician. It would be easy for me to get behind Gov. Huckabee in time and money. There is NO comparison when you compare Gov. Huckabee to the current President. Gov. Huckabee is prepared to make the hard decisions necessary in this day and times and stear this country back to more conservative budgets and foreign policies. Because President Bush's admistraition was so unpopular the American People voted President Obama in as a "Change" alternative – not realizing just how far to the left President Obama would go. No president is capable of fixing everything but if Gov. Huckabee were elected in 2012 he might be able to adapt some budgetary conservativism that might prevent the total collapse of the U.S. Dollar and likewise the U.S. Economy!
This is a sad field of candidates. If this is the competition, Obama has nothing to worry about - almost no matter what he does. Come on, GOP.
This is a surprise!
I'm a Conservative and really...who cares?
How appropriate, the conservatives are leaning towards a potential nomination of a minister to lead their party. They seriously want to turn the US into some type of theocracy like the ones we are battling in Afghanistan, what does that say about the Republicans. Im sorry but religion has absolutely NO place in American governance.
CNN John King et al, just dont get it. The jig is up for the GOP.
Americans know what the Republicans stand for. They are the party of no new ideas, and the party of white, southern people only.
Ummmm... how is this a "surprize?!" Huckabee has been a major force in politics for several years. Isn't it about time people start taking him seriously as a politician and stop the nonsense of always describing him simply as "the former Baptist minister?" He hasn't been a minister for over 15 years.... Oh well, I guess it's easier to marginalize someone than to seriously consider their ideas...
What I can't believe is that Sarah Palin takes 12% of the 600 votes, the same as Romney and Pawlenty. The fact that she's considered a serious political candidate for any office shows how far Republicans have sunk.
Is this just another republican trist to decide who has values, and who
doesn't, who is a "real" American and who isn't . And by looking at
the makeup of the audience, it is quite clear just who the people are that think only they possess "values".
Surprise winner of the "Idiots Ball" is more appropriate.
I would put the 'long shot' up also especially if i knew i wasn't going to win anyways. Why put a viable candidate on the ballot; that would be like 'putting your Country first'.
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.
... If this is the best the "front-runner" of the honorable opposition can come up with, that Liberals/Progressives are not only wrong in their ideas but that we do not, even, have our country's interest at heart, then, clearly, that is the 21st Century equivalent of calling one's opposition "Communist". The opposition is, plainly, beyond desperate and have moved back, some years prior to the "McCarthy Era", not to mention the Scopes Monkey Trial, etc.
This is, truly, a very sad time for our nation. History will record that but so many would just rather allow themselves to be caught up in true "mass hysteria".
"Obama's talking to my children with subliminal messages!!!" Eeek!!
Uh huh!! :(
Please, please don't start already with these meaningless straw polls. Give us a break, the election is three years away for goodness sake. And for CNN to be hyping this as the lead story tells me it is a very slow news day. C'mon CNN, grow up, I expect more from you!
Why is it a 'surprise' that Huckabee won in this setting? He has already shown a willingness to pander to the worst elements of the far right, in a futile search for national prominence. He already said he doesn't believe in evolution, and that the universe was created in six days, which even most theoligians don't believe in the strictest sense. Next up: Neil Armstrong did NOT land on the moon, and the Earth is flat. Up is down. Night is day. Right is wrong. Oh wait, THAT one I believe in, too.
and PA-LENTY's no good
Take with you PALIN
and Mitt Romney too
'Cause you all are such losers
Put your TRYING on shelves
Because it will be OBAMA
In two thousand and TWELVE!!!
Ah! Ah! I'm a poet and don't know it!!! LOL
Huckabee/Palin is what the doctor ordered. America needs to get back on track.
How is this a surprise?
The conservatives can give it up right now. They can give-up their attempts to win the office of President, namely because they're against killing babies (abortion) but they are 100% behind the NRA. As a result of the NRA's successful idiocy, we have now grown accustomed to not a day passing by without several gun shootings and killings for all kinds of motives.
They can forget the White House, because there are millions of Americans without Health Insurance but they don't want to force the hands of the Insurance companies to bring the cost down. Why? The reason is clear; they are for big enterprise over the average citizen. They say "they want" Health Insurance for everyone but, oppose the Public Option which would make it affordable and would create competition for their protégés, Big Insurance.
They say "we shouldn't incur more deficit spending" but when their previous idiot hit the White House, he wiped out a $2 Trillion Dollar Surplus that was created by the Democrats from 1992 to 2000. When the same idiot went to war "to finish the job that his Dad had not of Regime Change in Iraq", under the twisted lie of Weapons of Mass Destruction, he created a huge deficit, and they didn't say a word.
We are the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't have Universal Health Coverage for all of its citizens. People of other nations used to look at us as a place where they would want to live, but that's no longer true.
For that and their family value hypocrites, No GOP for Me.
I've always been a Huckabee fan (which puts me in the minority on CNN) and am really glad to see his political future continuing to progress in the right direction. I voted for him in the last primary and will in this one too.
So the bible-thumping nuts voted for the head bible-thumping nut. Now if the real Republican Party would just get rid of the lot of those self-righteous bigots, maybe us real Republicans would get back on board.
Why is that a surprise? Huckabee is one of these Religio-Facists anyways. Of course the brown shirts of the far right FRC would support as big of a Neanderthal as he.
BWAHAHAHA!!! That's the best they've got? Geez...I needed a good laugh today, and the Republicans are always good for one! Just the fact that 12% chose Palin-the-quitter is enough to make me giggle...
Christian conservatives would be foolish to ignore Ron Paul yet again.
Zzzzzzz....slow news day, huh?
Let's see. The Vegas odds of Huckabee winning in 2012 are 250 to 1; for Mitt, 200 to 1. It must be a slow news day for CNN to run this non story for two candidates who cannot win their own party's nomination.