Cain upsets Perry as winner of Florida straw poll
September 24th, 2011
06:02 PM ET
3 years ago

Cain upsets Perry as winner of Florida straw poll

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."


Filed under: Herman Cain • Rick Perry
soundoff (665 Responses)
  1. Dixie

    Way to go, Cain. Pack your luggage for home Michele.

    September 24, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. jake in sc

    I guess we have a clear front-runner for the republican nomination...LOL!

    September 24, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. gerald grulich

    Did Rick Perry play the son of Buford T. Justice "Junior" in the movie "Smokey and the Bandit?

    September 24, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. ready

    Straw poll means nothing. People like Bachmann, Paul, and Cain win them.

    September 24, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. Joe

    Now that is funny. Cain burns Perry. ROFLMAO

    September 24, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. Jacob

    Where was the Breaking News when Ron Paul won the New Hampshire and California straw polls?

    September 24, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Jimbo

    The first sign that Perry cannot win...anything.

    September 24, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Is Rick Perry out of his mind? Reward illegal immigrants with in state college tuitions? This man really is an idiot.

    September 24, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. John

    YES!!!! Perry is a loser

    September 24, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. Not the Decider

    ALLRIGHT. Guess you've gotta give those old farts in Florida credit for getting it right

    September 24, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Judy75201

    I think Perry is just another pretty boy (or used to be lol), but straw polls are intended to make the front runner look in peril, so the troops will muster!

    September 24, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. GOP = Lame

    This just in!

    Straw polls are meaningless!

    September 24, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. Sandra

    Doesn't matter which of these two are front runners in straw polls, as neither is competent enough to be president. I watched some of their debating... and it was like watching live action FUNDIES SAY THE DARNEDEST THINGS.

    September 24, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. TW52

    IS Rick Perry out of his mind? Reward illegal immigrants with in state college tuitions? This man really is a brainless idiot.

    September 24, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Jason

    This means absolutely nothing. There is no point in even posting this story, let alone calling it breaking news.

    September 24, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. Snarks

    Good. I hope the American people give cain a chance. I would love him over all candidates. Talk about job creator. Would rather see him than perry, any day. We need a real american in office, not barack the islamist.

    September 24, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Oskar

    Clown car explosion!

    September 24, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. Hil

    WONDER WHY.............. when Ron Paul won California ..." Straw Poll" ............. last week nothing was posted about his win. ........... Wonder WHY?

    September 24, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. SuperFishFan

    The election is a farce. Vote for a different head on the same beast. REVOLUTION!

    September 24, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. Zil Zerimar

    This publicly praying Christian conservative liar from Texas lost the Florida straw vote because of his very very poor showing in the last debate. He was revealed in the last debate as a person who cannot win the national election. This is good for America. GO ROMNEY GO!!!!

    September 24, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  21. Sarah

    2011 Straw Polls = Schizophrenia

    September 24, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. Joe

    Herman Cain? Even the GOP must realize it's a joke now, right?

    September 24, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. Mr B

    im so happy for Mr. Cain!!! WAY TO GO!!

    September 24, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. democracy at work

    Herman Cain...yeah right! Give me a break. It'll never happen for the Moors in conservatism black tea. Right wingers tea will never drink from that cup. They also will never openly say it. It's just a matter of princible on their part that Cain also knows and realize just like Micheal Steele lol.

    September 24, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. rinseITout

    C'mon Man! Obama is ripe to be beatin' and this is what the GOP offers! Hahahahahhahhahha

    September 24, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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