Barbour nabs straw poll victory in South Carolina
April 15th, 2011
10:38 PM ET
11 years ago

Barbour nabs straw poll victory in South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour won a presidential straw poll in the pivotal early primary state of South Carolina on Friday night.

The straw poll was conducted by the Charleston County Republican Party at its annual convention. Barbour, fresh off a trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, was the only potential 2012 candidate to address the crowd of nearly 200 GOP activists.

Barbour won 22 percent of the 148 votes cast. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished second with 12 percent.

In third place with 11 percent was former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won another straw poll last weekend in socially conservative Greenville County. Social issues are less influential in Charleston, considered more fiscally conservative territory.

Businessman and television star Donald Trump finished fourth at 10 percent. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tied at nine percent, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul and pizza mogul Herman Cain tied at six percent.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took five percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton rounded out the pack, scraping together only a handful of votes.

Barbour, making his first visit to the South Carolina coast as he lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid, bonded with the Charleston crowd over the experience of recovering from a devastating hurricane.

For Barbour and Mississippi, it was Hurricane Katrina. For South Carolina, it was Hurricane Hugo, which battered the coast in 1989, killing 26 in the state and leaving 60,000 people homeless.

"People here in Charleston and all up and down the low country understand what it means to be clobbered by a mega-disaster, and what it takes to get back," Barbour said. "Y'all have done it very, very well and gracefully, and I hope that we in Mississippi can do as well."

The governor is making a two-day swing through South Carolina, a state that Barbour's advisers see as key to his presidential hopes should he decide to officially enter the 2012 race.

"If I run, I am going to run to win South Carolina," Barbour promised the audience. "To win South Carolina in my opinion means winning the low country. It means winning this part of South Carolina."

After his appearance at the Charleston convention, Barbour was spotted having a lengthy chat with South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott, a local Tea Party hero and one of two African-American Republicans in Congress.

Barbour arrived in Charleston on Thursday night and spent Friday holding a series of private meetings with area Republicans, including state House Speaker Bobby Harrell. On Saturday, Barbour will attend two county party conventions in and around the state capital of Columbia.

Barbour said Charleston residents repeatedly raised the topic of Katrina with him on Friday.

"People have been bringing it up to me all day," he said. "Brought it up during the day, brought it up at lunch, brought it up at meetings. Someone told me they went to Pass Christian and volunteered."

Also in his speech Friday, Barbour warned darkly that President Obama's management of the economy is more dangerous than any natural disaster.

"Our country faces a crisis that is every bit as dangerous, except it is more pervasive and it will last much longer," he said. "We are recovering from Katrina so that today, five and a half years later, you can see that the Mississippi Gulf Coast is coming back bigger and better than ever. It will take us longer than that to undo the damage that has been done by this administration."

Filed under: 2012 • Haley Barbour • South Carolina
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Little Tin God

    Yep. Barbour is another "great" GOP potential candidate for POTUS. The guy that wasn't against the license plate honoring an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Just the kind of guy I want leading this country!

    April 15, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  2. Roscoe

    If there is a worse candidate in the GOP field than Boss Hogg, it could only be Sarah or Michele. Maybe the Hogg will get the nomination and pick one of the nut job sisters as his VP. Then, he could lay claim to the worst loss in presidential history.

    April 15, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    he won in SOUTH CAROLINA right? LOL I don't think I really need to say anything more here.

    April 16, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. Ken, AZ

    All it takes to win a GOP straw poll is to say something negative about the president.

    April 16, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. T'sah from Virginia

    How many Republicans are going to win straws in SC?????? This is too many straws that already broke the camel's back and it's OLD!!!!!!

    "If I run, I am going to run to win South Carolina" Barbour said.
    "To win South Carolina in my opinion means…” every other state is dead.
    But that’s alright if the rest of America feels I’m not cable to be the Chief.
    I’m just an old redneck from SC – too bad they don’t share my beliefs!!

    The problem with ALL candidates who run for president is the fact that they only concentrate on SC, IA and NH like NO OTHER state matters!!!

    April 16, 2011 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  6. Marry

    Dear CNN, you mean to tell us that if 32.56 people (22%) out of 148 make Barbour a serious candidate? There is a lot of talk about “winning” on his side – I would prefer when finally the PEOPLE would be on the WINNING side! And the GOP/TP is not going to be a winning team for them!
    Love the critic on the President. And that out of the mouth of someone that has done nothing but stuff his pocket and those of his rich friends. Live in the south must be fun.

    April 16, 2011 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Maybe the Republicans would have better candidates if they spoke with people instead of straw.
    Just how does straw vote in a poll?

    April 16, 2011 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  8. JMR

    Now comes a blast from the governor’s past , revealing that Barbour was on Mexico’s payroll back in 2001. He was paid $35,000 a month to help extend a “mini-amnesty” provision that would allow some 300,000 undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to get visas or green cards without what’s called “touchback,” which requires that people return to their country of origin for anywhere from three to 10 years before they can get their papers.

    April 16, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  9. BeanerECMO

    He's part of the ruling class republicants (sic), who are unwilling to take a dem opponent head-on, but is more than willing to violate Reagan's 11th commandment of conservative politics.

    April 16, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  10. lgny

    He was the only wannabe to speak to the group and then won their straw poll by drawing 22% of their vote.

    Why do you waste our time with such nonsense. He's pretty pathetic as a candidate if he's the only one to show up, gives a speech, and yet still gets less than 1/4 of those present to vote for him in a poll that has no formal standing.

    This is not a newsworthy event.

    April 16, 2011 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  11. The Greedy Old Pigs rob from the poor to give to the rich!

    What a stellar batch of idiots, virtually all of them members of the Friedman/Rand death cult that favors disproven policies like tax cuts for the filthy rich and deregulation over the needs and aspirations of average Americans.

    April 16, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  12. diridi

    bunch of backward, idiotic states you go and call straw poll, do these states represent entire nation and its 50 states????how pity....America, you need education....really and desperately and badly....God Obama 2012!!!!

    April 16, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  13. Clwyd

    The idea that the "South will rise again" will never happen when we in the North need to have his every word translated into English. How can a man from the poorest state, with the worst education and discriminatory social programs ever be considered for President???? Oh, I forgot, to conservative republicans this is just what they want for all of us!

    April 16, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. diridi

    you call, spend, spend, and spend....where did you go when Bush spent in Iraq unnecessarily....?????At least he is spending in USA!!!!o.k.

    April 16, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  15. bobby

    Why do the Southern Gop and TeaPartiers,all go to the south to congregate? Their people down there are ALL,Republican,evangelicals,and mostly racist? Mississippi is the worst state to live in because of no jobs(even when times were good) very visiable Racism,and hundreds of thousands of poor,in their Black American population,and white? Oh,Barbour is perfect to run for town council! I think we all should be wanting Proof, that this man has no Klan background? Show us "Proof Mr Haley"? We need "Documentation,sir?

    April 16, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  16. rusty155

    You Republican must want a crook to run for President, this was kick out the house when he was speaker of the house. For 84Ethics charger and was forced to resign, and he cheated on his wife two time. It just the kind of a person to be president so he can know how to steal more from the Middle Class ,the POOR and the OLD, because since he a crook the Republican feel he be good at that. I don't understand why the TEA PARTY going after him , he would know how to make them RICHER and may be not on the up and up.

    April 16, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  17. bp

    this is just another republican who wants to stop all programs like medicare so they can have more money to start another war, and remind me again why its all of the southern folks wanting to go to war...................idiots

    April 16, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  18. T'sah from Virginia

    Oops, meant to say "capable" not "cable"!! Spell Check would not have caught this...LOL

    April 16, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  19. Anonymous

    This is news because? A white fat racist pig (sorry piggies) wins a straw poll in, of all places, the backwards state of SC. West Virginia used to be the punch line of every southern redneck state. That privilege has now been passed to sc, mo, al, ga. Keep it up folks. Nowhere to go but further down!

    April 16, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. Tony in Maine

    If he wins a straw poll in NH, Oregon or Maine, I'll consider him more than just a regional favorite.

    April 16, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. Annie, Atlanta

    This comes as no surprise. He would definitely have a lot of appeal there.

    April 16, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. GI Joe

    We don't need this old white southern "porker" bringing back "the south shall rise again". We have too many rednecks that don't know anything already in DC.

    April 16, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |