Orlando, Florida (CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign was dealt a worrying blow Saturday when he finished in a distant second place to businessman Herman Cain in a closely watched straw poll in Florida.
Cain won 37% of the 2,657 votes cast in the straw poll conducted at Presidency 5, a three-day convention sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida that brought thousands of party activists to Orlando.
Perry's campaign had courted Presidency 5 delegates for weeks and printed up glossy fliers that were distributed throughout the convention hall in Orlando, but the Texas governor captured just 410 votes, or 15.4% of the vote.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished third with 14%.
He was followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (10.9%), Texas Rep. Ron Paul (10.4%), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (8.4%), former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (2.26%) and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (1.5%).
Perry was expected to win the straw poll as the weekend began, but his underwhelming performance at a GOP debate on Thursday night raised questions about his readiness for prime time.
GOP activists at Presidency 5 also repeatedly expressed concern with Perry's forceful support for a Texas bill that grants in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.
In the debate, Perry said opponents of the bill don't "have a heart," a comment that rankled conservatives here.
Cain, who charmed activists with a series of red meat speeches and a smooth debate performance, was mentioned frequently as a second choice among activists who came to Orlando ready to support Perry before changing their minds.
The Perry campaign cast their disappointing finish as a resounding victory over Romney, Perry's top rival for the GOP nomination.
"It's a devastating loss for Mitt Romney, who has been campaigning for president for the last five and a half years," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner. "We have only been in this race for five and a half weeks. Mitt Romney still cannot resonate with conservative voters, especially in Florida."
Miner admitted that "we still have work to do and we are going to get better."
Herman Caine??? Really??? WOW
Perry seems to be not ready for the big stage.very surprise of the straw vote results.
Now will Micheline finally and officially retire from the scene so that we don't have to listen to her "misspeaks" ever again??
The 2012 Presidential election is the Republican Party's to lose. If they do not field a candidate who can pull independent and Blue dog votes Obama will win reelection by default. The GOP has got to relegate the religious right
to their proper minority wing of the party fr the well-being of our nation. We need common sense governance. The best hope e have for that is Ron Paul.
The "fair and balanced" channel is amusing tonight.
Funny, when a white person wins a state straw vote it is a "mandate" for a new number one leader, when a black man wins a state straw vote it is a "local popularity contest". and will not change the rankings.
How do you regular viewers keep up with the flip flopping?
It looks like, he caught himself just before he uttered some words, "Texas style" that could end
he presidental bid.
Cain is able! Cain in 2012!
Cain's 999 plan is what this country needs and Perry is a buffoon who isn't fit to be president. Cain or Romney, who ever wins will suffice.
Lololololololol this is the funnest thing I've seen all year lmbo
Whoopsie! I guess retirees aren't impressed when you call Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Still, the crappy pizza maker was in second? Whatever.
Just think...in 2 months neither of these idiots will be around anymore.....
It's a good thing Straw Polls mean nothing. Neither Cain nor Perry stands an actual chance at the Republican nomination.
Perrys Texas: We have no income tax but HUGE property tax no one here can afford, 11 million uninsured, 47th in education where he cut $4 billion from our kids school budgets, in state tuition for illegals so of course they swarm here, #1 in high school dropouts at 20-30% now, and he has fought the EPA on clean air and water every year for 8 years, so one of the most polluted states! Plus the guy works less than 9% of his time at his government job. Great job there governor!
Perry surely had to realize that not all conservatives were going to buy into his "Texan Charm"; the last few weeks have added few dents in his armor. Still, it would be unwise to underestimate him and still too early in this game (and no I am not a Perry supporter).
LOL imagine that....
I am a white, conservative, democrat, Christian man. The only man on the horizon fit to be president of the United States of America is Herman Cain. I only describe myself this way to show that Mr. Cain has wider support than any other candidate running for president including Obama. I include Obama in the current group of clowns running for president because he never stopped running for president. He is still campaigning. His only skill set is running for president, not being president.
I like Herman cain, He use to fill in for Russ Limbaugh, and had great points., Lets elect someone, new and get rid of all the other Garbage.m and just a note to you Junk Bill collectors, your days are numbered too, you lousy bottom feeders.
Go Herman Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I guess Rick Perry didn't see that one coming.
Now the fun begins – – – and that is watching Rick Perry try to spin his lost into something against Mitt Romney or President Obama.
parry should pack up and go back to his federal government renovated mansion and forget about running for prez.he is completely underqualified......hehehehe
You watch. He's going to quit his job as governor, lose the election, and then spend the rest of his time going on TV and making idiotic statements just like Palin.
Looks to me like Rick Perry needs to get together with that guy who "tutored" Sarah Palin back in 2008, when she was making on gaff right after the other, and only could see "Russia" from her house. The Florida "straw voters" would rather have some God Father's pizza, instead of a "cooked crow"!!!
I guess Michelle Bachmann can call it quits now, if your % is lower then Newts your done lol
..Look for the bullet that takes Cain out, to have GOP prints all over it!!!! LOL!!!!
Bachmann is losing ground so fast because of Perry. The probelm with Perry is that he could potentially be a qusai-conservative. That wouldn't be a huge shock. He says he is pro-life, but he is really pro-birth. If he was really pro-life, then he would be executing people left and right. I am really shocked that Cain did so well with this straw poll. If he can keep this up, then he could compete with Romney and Perry. Huntsman needs so serious help, but the problem with him is that people are so into the tea party that they don't understand that they need to respect science and non-industry based reports.
Mr. Cain has my vote.. I have always admired him and listened to his talk show on wsb in Atlanta.. He has the knowledge to bring this country back to it should be.... Go Mr. Cain!!