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."
This woman was a counter emplyee, not a manager, not a upcoming Vice President at the age 30,
And what wiill CNN do if white men initiate a class action against CNN because in all they reports feature minorities, nearly all women, if not innocent moslems suffering injustly because bad people discriminate them because they do not condemns their terrorist nor their terrorrist predicatinf preachers?? Is discrimination not illegal??
CNN check your matrh in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. Did Perry get 410 votes or 15.4% of the vote? 410 votes works out to about 5.7% of 7,000 voters if Cain's 2,657 voters is 37%. If you can't report the numbers accurately how can we trust any of your other news?
Sarah Palin is the second most delusional person on earth. Number one? Herman Cain.
Well, Cain the pizza mogul, is obviously a jerk, but not qute as big a jerk as Rick Perry. Anything that makes Perry look bad and helps destroy his campaign is very, very good for America. Thank you Hermann, although you will never, ever become President.
If you haven't Googled the name santorum yet, please do it now.
Just when you think the GOP candidates were coming out of the insanity and moving towards a true front runner or two, Herman Cain wins a Florida straw poll?!?!? That party is lost and now looking possibly hopeless. What a sad group of candidates! Most seem crazy, the only two truly sane sounding ones are Huntsman who is too moderate and reasonable to get GOP votes and Mitt Romney who very few in the GOP even like! The rest are batty! The only good coming from this article is Michelle Bachman getting a teensy 1.5 percent. Thank goodness there aren't large numbers of people stupid enough to support her. There are signs of intelligence on this planet after all.
I am glad to see the mr Cain is getting the press he deserves. He strikes me as the only one in the race that isn't a nut job.
Herman Cain wins larger state straw poll: News. Ron Paul wins larger state's straw poll by a larger margin: Doesn't matter. Never in history has a candidate been so obviously and furiously blackballed by the mainstream media. Whether it's the Left wing media like MSNBC and CNN, or the Right wing media like Fox News, they won't let him succeed.
What will the Tea Party do if the nation has two black men running for President? 2012 should prove to be a very interesting race indeed. If Congress wants to cut spending why don't they close a couple of military establishments in Texas, I wonder if the Texas miracle would continue?
It should have been mentioned in the article that Romney isn't competing for these stupid straw polls. The whole week has been a terrible failure for Rick Perry, from the Israel speech/international incident to the debate to the poll to his underwhelming appearance in Michigan. Rick Perry is a straw man frontrunner and his infantile attacks on Romney remind us every day.
I am really surprised by not only Cain's great debating skills, but also how hard Gov. Perry has fallen since his meteoric rise since he announced his bid. It just goes to show that the crowd really does play well to the red meat that Mr. Cain is so adept at dishing out. I am interested in how this will affect the GOP race.
Perry is toast. Texans don't want him back. He's your, GOP. Do with him as you wish, but don't send him back to Texas!!!
The left has got no where else to go. They damn well better rally around Obama or they will be governed by a republican theocracy.
Who woulda thunk it!
Looks Florida snubs the darling Republican selection for the presidency.
I think this may be the first time in my life I'm taking a more conservative position than Perry, but I don't think illegal immigrants should pay in-state college tuition.
"The Perry campaign cast their disappointing finish as a resounding victory over Romney, Perry's top rival for the GOP nomination."
In the words of Mitt, Nice Try Rick. You were expected to win but came in a distant second barely ahead of Mitt. The debate showed the real Perry, not ready for prime time, maybe you should start to plan on 2016, 2012 is far too close for you to grow up.
YES! Now thats what I like to see; the substantive candidate getting the votes.
Suck on them man-apples Perry, you double-talking son of a gun you.
so did Ron Paul in California, how come he didn't get a "boost" from the media
Yeah, those tea partiers are such racists...oh wait...
Perry: An anti-science dominionist who failed upward. Sound familiar?
Cain: Opportunist who hates everybody and believes God should be president and that poverty is His will. Also hates Social Security.
Romney: Morman who's business credentials were buying companies... to dismantle them and send jobs over seas.
This is AWESOME!
Losers voting for losers. What a waste of time and money. The repubes have no constructive plans.
Just make the rich richer, and forget Main Street. I'll have the pepperoni pizza for president. NOT
Pretty simple. Perry is dumb. His college transcripts say he is dumb. His performance in the debate say he is dumb. His ideas for the future say he is dumb. He got 15.4% in the straw poll. It just proves that these other people are also very dumb.
Herman Cain is a true conservative who lives by his principles and Perry is not. The comment by the Perry staffer
that the Perry team will have to get better shows how little they understand. The problem is not something the team can repair. Perry made Texas a magnet for illegal immigration by giving in-state
tuition to illegals, refusing to consider an Everify law, and generally looking the other way as to the illegal immigration problem until a few months before he decided to run for president. Many voters are sick of subsidizing illegal immigration. They are not going to vote for a candidate like Perry who is perfectly willing to stick it to the American taxpayer
In order to keep supplying his multimillion builder buddies (and major donors) with cheap illegal labor.
Perry says the result is bad for Romney? - Talk about spin.
Hey, Ricky! Romney did not even really campaign for the straw poll. YOU, however, did! Romney did pretty well considering he didn't campaign much for the poll....Since you did so poorly against someone who didn't even try says a lot.