Santorum takes presidential straw poll in South Carolina
April 9th, 2011
12:13 PM ET
4 years ago

Santorum takes presidential straw poll in South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has visited South Carolina more than any other potential presidential hopeful, and his efforts paid off Saturday with a straw poll win at the Greenville County Republican Party convention.

Santorum was one of three potential candidates to address Saturday’s convention. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also spoke.

Vote-rich and conservative, Greenville County plays a pivotal role in the South Carolina presidential primary, traditionally one of the first states to cast ballots in the presidential nomination process.

Santorum, who arrived early at the convention and donned a Palmetto-patterned pink tie for the day, won the straw poll with 31 percent of the 431 votes cast. Finishing second was Gingrich, who took 14 percent. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and reality television star Donald Trump tied for third at seven percent.

They were followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at six percent.

Barbour tied for fifth with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who won five percent of the vote.

Huckabee won another closely-watched straw poll in populous York County last weekend. Two other key South Carolina counties, Charleston and Lexington, will hold presidential straw polls next weekend.

Barbour’s showing was underwhelming considering his in-person appearance at the event. He spoke to county delegates shortly before the vote and laid on some southern charm.

“It's great to be at a convention where I don't need an interpreter,” he joked at the opening of his remarks. Barbour also flew into town the previous evening to meet with local Republican activists and potential donors at a minor league baseball game.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin finished at four percent. Former pizza magnate Herman Cain came in at three percent, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took two percent.

The rest of the early and wide-open field finished with one percent of the vote or less. Also on the ballot: Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and – curiously - activist Al Sharpton won write-in votes.


Filed under: 2012 • GOP • Rick Santorum • South Carolina
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Rope-a-dope

    ... "curiously – activist Al Sharpton won write-in votes." There goes the credibility of that straw "pole":-)

    April 9, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    As my great-niece in California used to say – GAG ME WITH A SPOON!!

    April 9, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Mark in Seattle

    Now there's a convention to stay far far away from!

    April 9, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Sal

    Republicans ain't worth the powder to blow them all to kingdom come! 

    April 9, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    with the foolishness that comes out of Sout Carolina this should come as no surprise. The state that bought us the likes of Dewitt that want to make being gay a crime plus two timing Gov Sanford and one of the lowest amount of formal education would shock me if they didn't pick this moron.

    April 9, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. GOP = Greed Over People

    431 attendees?

    I have been to elementary school bake sales with a bigger turnout!

    April 9, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. C. Howe Yulikit

    Hilarious! You need look no further that the GOP does not have a single viable candidate if this guy is actually winning anything. Wow a whopping 134 people in South Carolina want him as President. What a landslide!

    April 9, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Frustrated Independant

    This just prove's that South Carolina is a freakshow ! 2012 should go very well for Obama and the Democrat's !

    April 9, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Michael

    A bigoted, dumb state just got dumber.

    April 9, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. one voice

    Only a CLOWN can be a hero in a State full of CLOWNS, PATHETIC

    April 9, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. mesamick

    You can't take this poll seriously...It's Greenville County SC – Home of the tea potty crackers and white racists for gawd sakes!!

    April 9, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. marylandvoter

    “'It's great to be at a convention where I don't need an interpreter,'” he joked at the opening of his remarks."

    Oh, just like your past remark that racism / segeration was not so bad, as you remember it, in your neck of the woods, back in the good ol' days?

    You still don't get it, do you, Sir?

    Actually, being born in the North, Illinois, I would need an interpreter.

    April 9, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. TomNPitt

    And the South, lead again by the confederates of South Carolina, shall rise and fall supporting a pro-life, single issue nut job like Ricky!

    April 9, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Positive

    No big surprise there but he is totally unelectable in a national general election.

    April 9, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. diridi

    another idiot from GOP thugs....he is a kid.....

    April 9, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. john

    Wait, winning a straw poll in a county is big news?

    April 9, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. DENNA

    The Republicans have the saddest collection of potential candidates that I have ever seen, including Rick, The Donald, Newt, Sarah, Michelle and every other assorted nut with a Republican affiliation is throwing their hat into the ring. And don't get me started on Haley Barbour. Do we really want him to do for the rest of America what he has done to Mississippi? Please, please give America a break. If you can't provide a viable candidate, stop throwing these people against the wall to see who sticks. It is not a pretty sight.

    April 9, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Daryn

    Santorum? Really? Talk about bottom of the barrel. Maybe the republicans will wipe the santorum out of their eyes and run a circus clown or a farm animal next.

    April 9, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Snooki Palin at 4%. She better come out of her foxhole.

    April 9, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Dave in Silver Springs

    Yeah....well......it's S Carolina for gosh sakes. Who did you think would get this honor.

    The toothbrush was named in S Carolina. Had it been named anywhere else it would have been called a teethbrush.

    April 9, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Independent In Albany

    A straw poll is most appropriate, as that is exactly what he is cluctching at if he thinks he has a shot at being president.

    April 9, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. NameRichard A Breuer

    Fort Sumter was in SC also. How did that work out in the end?

    April 9, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    That anyone in SC would think Santorum has any chance it all tells you exactly how deluded and extreme the GOBP has become.

    April 9, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. de

    This guy does,nt look like he was born in this country? Dark hair,olive skin? Would you care Mr.Sanitarium,if we could have "Proof of Birth Please? After all, "Thats Big Agenda" with you Tea Leaves,is,nt it sir? I think you need to stay in the south,"Thats where you belong sir. Your not wanted in the "Rest of the Country. Plenty of Poor down their, because of your "Politics"

    April 9, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Valerie from Raleigh

    Rick Santorum "cooked his goose" for me during the Terri Schiavo situation in Florida a few years ago. Her husband, advised by the medical profession that his wife, in a comma for years, was brain dead, so he wanted to let her go and take her off the ventilator. George Bush and his brother, then governor of Florida, along with Santorum, indicated on television that Mr. Schiavo simply wanted to be rid of his wife and that she could be cured. He told this to her parents and played on their agony. Finally the husband's wishes were granted and Mrs. Schiavo died. An autopsy determined that portions of her brain were simply gone and she could never have receovered. Suddenly, Santorum disappeared from the scene with not one word of appology to Mr. Schiavo. What a jerk!!!

    April 9, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
1 2