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. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Socialism is a conflict philosophy that believes in a system in which one person can gain only at the expense of another.with this philosophy,socialist have contributed mightily to the prevention of the autarky-The economic self sufficiency of the poor community by selling their religion as an economic science that will inevitably arrive to save the world. Our country is on the wrong track and for that i dont blame the tea part for massive change. But RAND PAUL, for President? give me a break. You want to win in 2016? Get behind a good strong GOP member. the tea party Is just to far out there.

    March 17, 2013 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    Looks like Papa's filling the hall with voters is still effective, thank you oh, great election god, cuz it worked so well for him!

    March 17, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  3. Thomas

    In the end, he will be an also Rand.

    March 17, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  4. Hugh Mann

    Well if I had been President and you told me that Rand Paul was still breathing, I would have fired you

    March 17, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  5. Gene

    If Randy turns out to be the GOP pick for presidential candidate, the dems will hold the exec office until 2020, no doubt.

    March 17, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  6. Charles

    Looks like a House of Horrors.

    March 17, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  7. WeDontMattter

    I'm glad Rand Paul got 23%, after wasting 13 hours of Congresses time on a question that the rest off the country already knew the answer to shows his effectiveness as a leader. And getting 23% of the vote for his childish tantrum shows the intelligence level of the members of his party.

    March 17, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  8. DavidInNC

    Now, if former president Nixon had won the straw poll, this would have been news.

    March 17, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. J R Brown

    As a conservative atheist, I must scratch my head yet again why the GOP is so profoundly missing the point of an election...you must put a guy out there who has a chance to win. Rand Paul has zero chance of defeating any big name Democrat...like a Hillary Clinton.

    If you clowns ever want to win another election, FIGURE IT OUT. We don't need more extremism...we need someone who can hold the center and get things done.

    It makes me sick that the left is trashing the vision of the Founding Fathers and bankrupting our country and all the right can do is embrace more unelectable people.

    March 17, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. Curt

    Thats scary. Rand Paul 1st, then Rubio and Santorum. Guess the Dems will win again the next election. Besides didn't Bachmann win the straw poll. Need I say more?l

    March 17, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  11. Michael

    Another Paul winning it all with the GOP. Wow !! He could get less than mittens just six months ago.

    March 17, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  12. Rosa, b'ham al

    Well that pretty much guarantees he will never be President.

    March 17, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  13. Wake UP

    Rand Paul.... what a guy.... now if the could just hold his pee longer he run off at the mouth more and waste time filibustering......

    March 17, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. randyb

    Was this the same conference excluded Gov Christie and had that lunatic Donald Trump rambling like ... well, Donald Trump?

    March 17, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  15. nintex

    Wonderful news for the Democrats!

    March 17, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. clarke

    I am not sure what a straw vote get you, but what ever!

    March 17, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  17. davidp44022

    So, the most recently elected president (whether you like him or not) has been in office and one of the parties is already having their straw polls. Let us have a break for a couple years before we have to suffer through another presidential campaign.

    March 17, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. ed dugan

    Hot dog! For just a while I thought the Republicans had come to their senses and decided to join the rest of the world. Supporting Rand proves that they are still stuck with both feet planted firmly in mid-aid. They have turned self-destruction into an art form!

    March 17, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  19. davidp44022

    So, the most recently elected president (whether you like him or not) has been in office and for his second term only 2 months and of the parties is already having their straw polls. Let us have a break for a couple years before we have to suffer through another presidential campaign.

    March 17, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  20. Stephen

    If the Republicans want to give a gift to the Dems, their 2016 ticket will be Rand/Palin–What a dream ticket for the Dems

    March 17, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. Larry L

    It appears every member of Congress dreaming of becoming President plans to spend the vast majority of their time campaigning (on the taxpayer's dime) for the 2016 election – including publicly coming out "against" everything. Ever wonder why the Congress gets absolutely nothing done? They need to quit campaigning and get to work.

    March 17, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Vader

    Clearly, the GOP did not learn the lessons of history. Rand Paul? Seriously? There were 2 choices following the debacle of 2012; move toward the center or move further to the fringe. Looks like the direction is set.

    March 17, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @ J R Brown

    I agreed with everything you said until you got to the part where you said the left is trashing the vision of the Founding Fathers and bankrupting our country. Can you please explain how the left is trashing the vision of the Founding Fathers?

    And as far as bankrupting our country, I believe the last time the GOP controlled the House, Senate and Executive branch of government, we ended up with a squandered surplus, an inflated national deficit, high inflation, record unemployment (800,000 jobs lost per month), a housing crisis, a broken financial infrastructure and the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression. Where have you been all that time, perhaps under a rock? Or are you just in denial?

    March 17, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. DARTH CHENEY

    They keep going further and further to the right, until one day they'll fall off their flat earth.

    March 17, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. Karl Jonas

    Run Rand Run!

    s/ The Democratic Party

    March 17, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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