Rand Paul wins 2013 CPAC presidential straw poll
March 16th, 2013
05:41 PM ET
1 year ago

Rand Paul wins 2013 CPAC presidential straw poll

(CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday. Paul won with 25% of the vote and finished slightly ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. In third place was former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Nearly 3,000 votes were cast by attendees at the three-day conference held at a hotel just outside of Washington. The straw poll is considered one way to gauge where the conservative base stands on potential Republican nominees. The ballot included 23 Republicans with a national political profile as well as spots for write-ins and "undecided."

Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and 43 others - including former president Richard Nixon, who died in 1994 - received at least one write-in vote.

Another potential presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, asked not to be on the ballot. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who received 7%, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, were on the ballot but were not invited to speak on the main stage.

Paul earned himself a serving of goodwill from conservatives after he stood for nearly 13 hours on the Senate floor, filibustering and demanding the Obama administration answer his question about the government's authority to use drone strikes against American citizens on U.S. soil.

His father, former GOP congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, won the straw poll in 2011 and 2010.

Rounding out the top 10 vote-getters were Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 5%, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 4%, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at 4%, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin - the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate - with 3%.

Dr. Benjamin Carson, a neurosurgeon who became a political figure after speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, had a speaking slot at CPAC and garnered 4% of the vote.

Only 1% reported they were undecided.

Fewer votes were cast than in 2012 and 2011, as the presidential campaign drove interest in politics. In 2011, over 3,700 ballots were cast and last year, there were 3,400 votes.

Eventual Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the straw poll last year. Poll organizers released percentages but not the actual number of votes candidates received.

– CNN's Steve Brusk and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: CPAC • Rand Paul
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. spock500

    This inspiring and earth-shattering announcement just made my entire weekend.

    March 16, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    Thanks CNN for letting me know this (sarcasm).

    March 16, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Steve

    nice work Rand..I'm with ya all the way

    March 16, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. jennifer in Houston

    Yawn... the Republican base just doesn't get it..Theybremind me of the Astros.. snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    March 16, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. The Other Dale

    Aaaaand, this just proves Conservatives haven't learned anything from the last election. Rand Paul? The guy is a cartoon, who believes that toilets are taunting him and that he's too good for the TSA to pat-down. The guy who had his thugs curb a woman because she dared to hold a card up to him as his car drove by. The guy who prominent Republicans who still have some sense of dignity are embarrassed to have to be associated with. And onward and onward. This is a guy that is just brimming with a bad past and bad ideas and they think HE'S the best they've got?

    Better look forward to President Hilliary if that's the best they can do.

    March 16, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. Anthony in California

    Just in... Chris Cristie eats his Rand's lunch.

    Im glad to see Republicans still havent learned after their embarrassing 2012 Presidential loss, seat losses in the Senate, and seat losses in the House.

    Keep it up fellas. Dinosaurs and Dodo birds are waiting for you guys...

    March 16, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. Ron

    CPAC doesn't exactly have a positive record on choosing winners.

    March 16, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  8. Dennis1020

    That's great news! It ensures the Democrats will take the White House again in 2016.

    March 16, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  9. Bill C

    Leadership: Rand Paul on Libya in response to POTUS on the eve of the intervention way back in 2011. Google it.

    How right he turned out to be! President Obama, and his Republican enablers? (McCain, Graham, Rubio et al)? Well if you think Christians being jailed and beaten and murdered diplomats in Benghazi is a course for America then..yeah.

    Notice the constitutional themes that supported Rand Paul's filibuster are presaged in the Libya response and how hewing to the Constitution too would have saved us from the mess in Libya.

    March 16, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. PhilG.

    Both parties need to stop running away and hiding at perpetual Presidential compaign conferences and get their axxes back to Washington D.C. and DO THE JOBS THEY WERE VOTED INTO OFFICE TO DO.

    All this talk about an election over three years away is a smokescreen to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AND GET PAID FOR IT.

    If all you people want to do is run campaigns,then we should take away ALL OF YOUR CITIZEN DERIVED PAY.

    WE DON'T PAY FOR YOU TO RUN CAMPAIGNS NONSTOP.

    WE PAY YOU TO DO WHAT WE SAY AND TO RUN THE GOVERNMENT TO BENEFIT US.

    GET TO WORK OR GET OUT.

    March 16, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Patrish

    Eventual Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the straw poll last year. And how did that work out for him? Snark!

    March 16, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. L.Sanfod

    There are millions of people living in cities but because of gerrymandering are underrepresented. The GOP better understand that they are the ones that come out in the general elections and vote democratic. If the republicans don't appeal to these urban voters and try to understand their problems the GOP will never elect a president again. These zealot ultra right wing CPACers should get the message.

    March 16, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. Silence Dogood

    Rand Paul and Rick Santorum as front runners? Glad to see that republican voters learned their lesson in 2012.....!!!

    March 16, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. Laura

    So what. Didn't each of the republicans running last year win at least one poll? How'd that work out for them?

    March 16, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. allens

    great news! the republicans have not learned a thing from past elections. i am left to think they do not to have a series candidate that will help america. to bad, i would love a choice

    March 16, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  16. PtBarnumBoy

    Wow!!!! Is this really what the GOP hopes to run with in 2016? I guess we'd better start practicing to say President Clinton.

    March 16, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. Alina77

    Its so easy to predict Republican future: " Rand Paul and GOP are in disbelieve of loosing election.." The next day Rand Paul blames America for having 57% of middle class people that value their rights.

    March 16, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. winchester74

    CPAC is the Carnival Cruise Lines of politics. Maybe Rand Paul can get them into harbor before the toilets overflow.

    March 16, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. Rednip

    No real surprise, his dad usually wins that straw poll as CPAC is where libertarians gather to try to move 'the conservative movement' to their agenda as best as they can.

    While Rand may do a little better than his dad in the primaries, he should be considered the most likely VP nomination for 2016 rather than the GOP Presidential candidate.

    March 16, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Dad Paul, won the straw poll in 2011 and 2010.-and this indicates what?

    March 16, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. nvmature

    His father has won the straw poll twice and Richard Nixon even received a vote this time: Need I say more?

    March 16, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  22. sparky

    Dad Paul, won the straw poll in 2011 and 2010 and so this indicates what?

    March 16, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. mr sensitive

    Jeb was wise by asking not to be included....

    March 16, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. king

    hey i am all for rand paul. when these people start going through the policies of osterity, they will think twice of putting this "back to the 30s economic policies hack" to the back of the line, and allow the dems to have another president, because if these repubs keep running their policies of outrage and lies, one day the gullibles will say; hey what the repubs are saying is actually growing china and strengthening their armies, and not benefitting us. i hope it wont be too late.

    March 16, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  25. max

    Didn't Elmer Fudd win that one year ?

    March 16, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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