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. JG

    Two words: NOT ELECTABLE.
    Just like Ron Paul. The GOP, rather than move towards the middle, is still investing in extremism. Preachers and extremist, government-hating wackos. We are witnessing the end of the Republican party.

    March 16, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. JG

    Notice the nature of the salute in the photo accompanying the article.
    Imagine a black suit.....

    March 16, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. zizewitz

    Michelle Bachman won the straw poll before. But the Democrat are praying for PAUL, an intellectual anarchist as his father RON, but without his good manners.

    March 16, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. southernwonder

    i like rand paul. he is honest and smart and impatient about setting america on the right course.

    March 16, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  5. becky

    So they are starting the 2016 presidential race already. Does anyone really listen to what Rand Paul says or do they support him because he is the son of Ron Paul. Maybe he thinks Sen. McConnell can do his work, too.

    What would happen if CPAC decided to find a way to work with the liberals in Congress. Maybe, just maybe they could solve some of the problems in this country. Surely there are areas of agreement and certainly they are interested in putting Americans back to work.

    It might be interesting to know who the delegates were to the conference.

    March 16, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. mre2

    The GOP is soon to be no more. It's time to bury the elephant. RIP GOP.

    March 16, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. Steve - Texas

    ROFLMAO.. god these conservatives are really scrapping the bottom of the cesspool ....

    March 16, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. mre2

    The GOP is soon to be no more. It's time to bury the elephant. RIP GOP.

    March 16, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. Cam

    I'm glad to see that Rand Paul won. He is the only politician who stands up for the protection of our civil liberties.

    March 16, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. Ed FL

    What an Honor to be voted the ot the top of an organizatio as the GOP.Doesn't appear to be the winner of a losing team/organization.

    March 16, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. BrightStar

    Anyone winning the CPAC straw poll and continuing with that kind of thinking will never occupy the White House.

    March 16, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. GLK20c

    Cool! I'll vote for him just like I voted for his dad. The future of the Republican party is the freedom and liberty movement, not the authoritarian, protectionists nanny state of King Obama and the Neo Cons.

    March 16, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  13. MrVic

    Can I get a Rand and Rubio? Please! Last thing we need are people who do nothing but follow party lines. The Government is just packed with them, hence why nothing good is getting done. As a registered independent I want to say something to most democrats and republicans... You fail, you fail bad!

    March 16, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. Spiriteagle

    This simply shows me that the GOP and Conservatives have no sense of direction. Just more of finding a slash and burn approach to the issues facing the USA and the world. The problem with supporting a libertarian is that libertarians think that leaving every one alone is the answer. That will only work for 1 percent of the people... those who can grab as much as they can as fast as they can...

    March 16, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  15. Enoch

    It is kind of like they are telling the Democrats not to worry about 2016.

    March 16, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Loathstheright

    All Right way to go Paul, now the Democrats can have another 8 years. Rand doesn't have a snow balls chance in....well, you know.

    March 16, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. Carlin123

    The GOP should have backed Ron Paul instead of Mitt the twit in the last election. If Rand is half as good as his daddy, he's got my vote.

    March 16, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. sqeptiq

    We can only hope the teapublicans are silly enough to nominate RPaul.

    March 16, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. yosemite sam

    So the Republi-cons at least chose a candidate capable of spelling their own name and not insulting the poor or gays at every turn.

    Quite an improvement from the usual gang of fools they trot out.

    March 16, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Good Luck Aqua Buddha !

    Rand Paul / Scott Walker
    Yes we want power 2016

    March 16, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  21. Danial Farooq

    Congrats for straw poll win to Rand Paul . Sen. Rand Paul deserves to win after 13 hours of Senate filibuster unprecedented performance , standing up for U. S. Constitution . If Rand Paul keeps it up for next four years , would have tough 2016 Republican presidential primary . Gov. Chris Christy or Jeb Bush moderate conservatives would win GOP nomination for president in 2016 . If GOP in disarray , fails to overcome their infighting , and do not rally around a national economic growth and social accommodation and tolerance agenda , that would seal another all round GOP defeats . The GOP in Congress should focus now on bipartisanship agreements , on major national issues and programs e. g., budget , deficit and debt reductions , job creation programs , immigration and , Affordable Health care reforms , Gun violance control etc . in Congress . That would mean unity of purpose for America . It is about time !

    March 16, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. Surfer George

    YAY!!!!

    Hilary 2016 in a LANDSLIDE

    March 16, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  23. Mark

    He's got no chance....too many takers I this country

    March 16, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  24. w1nluv

    This is worthless. The next election is over 3 years away.

    March 16, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. GOP= Greed Over People (Party)

    Same old crap.

    March 16, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
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