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."
Perry should be worried. Losing to Cain?
Given either of these two clowns which would you vote for? Given the 7 clowns running in the republican party which would you vote for? The pizza salesman, the two religious cult members, the crazy lady, the frugal guy with a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany's, the nut from Texas who wants to appoint Senators, not elect them or the rest of the loony tunes they have running?
Gosh, look at all the right wiing-nuts now using a token black by saying he got some straw poll votes and now we have our black candidate so blacks vote for us.. And, all of them know there is no way talk show host Cain can win the Presidency, not because of race but because of his far right wing ideolgy.
So does this mean anytime a Lib says the don't like Cain, I get to say they are racist?
I like Cain, and Romney. Perry just doesn't cut with me as a viable candidate.
This is too, too funny. None of the nit wits running for Republican office are worth a 2nd look. Maybe that is what the people in Florida were trying to tell these idiots. They surely put Bachman in her place. It is about time some of them start to back out and stop punishing themselves with all this nonsense. I just feel sorry for the people who are duped by Perry and voted for him. Wake up seniors. He wants to cut your SS and medicare.
Even if Cain does not win Republican nomination, I am glad he will have something to brag about for the rest of his life that he ran for president of the USA, and he was recognized at one point during the contest.
I love how repubs here are saying that a straw poll of 2,700 in one state speaks for the whole party and shows how it puts an end to any comment of racism.
Next you will be saying that Bachmann getting 1.5% shows how they arent the party of the christian fundamentalists either.
With Cain at least the White House meetings would get catered with all you can eat Pizza. Some of the other candidates may be eating crow.
A President in this country won't matter before long. We are moving away from central control. It has already started. What will Washington do when the IRS' mailbox is empty?
The Florida Republican delegate forgot to see Herman Cains birth certificate.
In response to "Bigwilliestyles" aka "another idiot," I am white southern male and a vocal supporter of Cain. So how does that fit in your idiocracy equation? You are obviously ignorant to the fact that it was a REPUBLICAN president who abolished slavery and DEMOCRATS who opposed desegregation in the south. The fact remains that republicans believe in a prosperity through limited government intervention and that everyone benefits when inventors are allowed to invent, investors are allowed to invest, builders are allowed to build, and consumers are allowed to spend. Democrats NEED blacks to remain economically challenged in order to have a platform from which to shout their divisive rhetoric. Libs and Dems hate Cain because he disarms their putrid claim that every conservative is a racist.
It looks like politicians aren't the only ones who have no diea what the voting public wants. The media keep feeding us Perry vs. Romney and yet the people keep voting differently. Bachman wins Iowa, with a strong second by Ron Paul and then Paul wins California. Cain takes Florida while Romney gets only a few hundred votes in a 51% home state win in Michigan. The politicians want illegal immigration, to eliminate social security and medicare, to allow only the rich to have medical insurance and the media wants to two fair haired boys to duke it out for tv ratings. None of them have any idea what Americans really want!
Give me a break, the Red Nek Right is never going to nominate a minority or a woman. These people are just wasting time and money.
Cain and Gingrich would be a great ticket.
I'm sorry, but a state that allow the secretary of state to stop a ballot count in a close PRESIDENTUAL election will never get me to give much credence to their thought process or integrity; remember: their actions gave us 'dubya'. And Casey Anthony. Whatever they're doing, I'm doing the opposite. Herman Cain would be the second coming of Clarence Thomas. No thanks.
You're a bit of a fool, Jeff. The GOP only accepts black candidates when it is politically expedient. The fact is that Cain is only in the race because certain people think it will be easier to defeat a black man with another black man.
You're a bit silly, Jeff. The GOP only accepts black candidates when it is politically expedient. The fact is that Cain is only in the race because certain people think it will be easier to defeat a black man with another black man.
Right, ad as always, we find out that the CNN polls aren't as accurate as they are spin.
It shows that Perry is not the type of candidate the American People are looking for. He is so full of himself and also lack what the ordinary Americans are looking for in a President, Please do not waste your time and our tax payer money, just quit will be the ultimate answer for perry...at least Tim did it to save his a.......Good luck Romney vs OBAMA
Cannibalism in the chaos of the swamp that is the RNC makes for a great reality show because none of them deal with reality or even seem to be aware of reality.
*Desperately seeking RHINO Christie
@ skunkwerks: your 7:59 post was hilarious! I could easily put the visual to SLIK RIK. Thanx for the lmao!
Romney trounces both of them in Michigan...straw polls are totally meaningless.
CNN was having a conflict with running this story. On the one hand there's the anything to bring Perry down angle. On the other hand they don't want black democrats to see that it's okay to be a black republican.
? your nuts
go cain.......nc love you
why did you take my name , at least use thomas2.