Cain upsets Perry as winner of Florida straw poll
September 24th, 2011
06:02 PM ET
10 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. Not Fat

    Can you imagine the Tea Party actually coming out to vote for a black man (Cain) or a gay man (Perry)?

    September 24, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    I cant believe people would actually show up to even listen to this crazy tea party stuff

    September 24, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. John

    If you ask me that nobody really see anybody they really like ,because they have been a different person winning each state. It just go to show you they are all clown, and nobody really care.

    September 24, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Heaven help us....Cain is our 'Robert Mugabe'!!! Even we really want to be like Zimbabwe????? We will if this group keeps going with the help of the 'MEDIA'......

    September 24, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  5. Dianne

    Who cares?! Politicians deserve to be upset 24/7. Wish people constantly made them all upset, it would be good for humanity. The system needs to change and politicians need to come from good people rather than greedy cheaters, the only reason they are in those positions is their ugly personalities.

    September 24, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. Chaz

    At least perry finally realised his facsist cronies are heartless

    September 24, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. jane

    the media....take are trying to tell people who to vote for....i think in the end the voters are going to surprise everybody!

    September 24, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Craig

    WE'RE DOOOOOOOOOOMED. Seriously though, the republicans are pretty much guaranteeing an Obama re-election.

    September 24, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. jo

    Do we really want to be another Zimbabwe???? Cain sounds and acts much like Mugabe!!!!

    September 24, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    So what? Now Herman Cain is going to be the front-running Republican candidate? Why can't the GOP stop looking for populists and evangelicals and start looking for a president?

    September 24, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. sd

    LMAOOOO this is hilarious!!

    September 24, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. Henry

    No longer the flavor of the month.

    September 24, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. gary

    I'd vote for Cain ... he makes the most sense

    September 24, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Hallux

    This should not worry Perry... if history has taught us anything, it's that Floridian voters don't even know whom they're voting for.

    September 24, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. Snap

    I'm for Herman Cain!

    September 24, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. C. K. Justus

    Perry should be praising the Lord that finished second, which is at least 5 places higher than he should have been!!

    September 24, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Sydney Australia

    Herman Cain – winner!

    September 24, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. aceryder

    impossible – republicans are supposedly racsists, so how can this be?

    September 24, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Glenn

    WOW.....and I thought the Republican, Tea Party folks were Racist.....guess the LIbs are wrong again.....and Morgan Freeman with his comments.....He shoudl stick to acting.....if you can call it that.

    September 24, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. morpunkt

    Perry was just another Great Evangelical Hope, Huckabee II, flash-in-the-pan.
    Good bye Rick.

    September 24, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Simple Observer

    Any connection between this article posted on Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2011 and today's disappointing results:
    “As a Christian I have a clear directive to support Israel,” the Republican presidential frontrunner said at a New York campaign stop Tuesday morning. “But that’s easy for me. Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.”

    September 24, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. guy

    WOooo nelly....old Slick Rick, the master manipulator of information seems to be losing ground. His business roots and self-centered style is showing and it will eventually be his undoing...

    September 24, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. QuantumSpectre

    Sounds a bit like a Rudy Giuliani thing going on there, trying to win (or in this case, winning) Florida. Herman Cain still doesn't have name recognition in my area or much of a record. Honestly, the question in my local area has turned from "Who's going to win the primaries?" into "Who's Rick Perry going to select for a running mate?" I'm not being prejudice or anything, I'm very serious when I say that, and if I were Herman Cain, I would be worried about that. He should step up his game, because that poll means very little right now, if he doesn't have the cash flow to take advantage of it. New polls come out every day. This one isn't special, not taking anything away from it, but it's true. Now, as for my politics, I'm praying for a Perry/Romney ticket. That would be a godsend. Someone with a strong conservative base, good record and an air of leadership, combined with someone who can meet in the middle and work out these tough negotiations that the President doesn't want to get involved with and is extremely intelligent and can provide the President with well thought out advice. PLEASE!

    September 24, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Scott

    From one of the delegates who attended the straw poll:

    I was a Delegate at P5, and was appalled at the way the "straw poll" was conducted.

    First of all, voting was publicized as taking place between 4:30 and 6:00 pm.

    But the voting started CLOSING before 4pm!! That's right, some people were told before 4pm that it was too late for them to vote in a poll that wasn't supposed to open until 4:30pm.

    I had to chase down the county chairman and plead my case (Hey! I'm here a half hour before the poll is supposed to open and I'm too late to vote!!!???)

    So they gave me a ballot. Picture guys walking around with envelopes full of ballots, handing them out, having people mark them, and then just hand them back to be stuffed back into the envelope. Picture dozens of guys doing this all over the auditorium full of people. Picture them not asking what country they're from, asking for delegate credentials, just handing out ballots to anyone who asks.

    It raised a few questions:

    1) Was there ANY control over the ballots at all? Did anyone count the number of ballots issued per county and match it to the number of delegates? I recognized that I could have voted a dozen times or more just by going to different envelope holders.

    2) If there was no ballot control, isn't it a little like the Fed printing money?

    3) If there WAS some sort of control, (like only one ballot issued per delegate) what happened to all the unmarked ballots (from the people who expected to vote after 4:30)? Did someone just mark them with their choice of candidate (stuffing the ballot box)? Throw them out? What?

    4) After marking the ballot, you placed the ballot back into the envelope. and the same guy who handed you the ballot, walked off with it. To do what? To throw away the ballots he didn't want counted?? To stuff more ballots in? to mark up the excess ballots?

    5) Who counted the ballots? As Stalin said (paraphrased), "Who cares how people vote – if you control who counts the votes!!?

    The entire process was slap-dash, slip-shod, sloppy – a joke!

    Of course, there's no point in identifying failure if there's not a better way to do things.

    So how about this?

    ISSUE BALLOTS WITH THE DELEGATE CREDENTIALS. That way, the ballot is in the hands of the delegate from the start and ballots are issued 1 per delegate. No opportunity to vote multiple times. No extra ballots issued. Just one ballot per voter.

    Have the delegates mark the ballot and put them into the voting machines just as they do when voting in an election. No middle man. No extraneous handling. No B.S.

    Now you could still have electronic fraud in the voting machine – but these recommendations certainly tighten up the process and eliminate a dozen ways to affect the outcome.

    Frankly, I was embarrassed and angered. Embarrassed, because if this is the best the Florida Republican Party can come up with, we're better off without it. Angered because I felt the entire straw vote process was undermined and diminished by one of the sloppiest voting processes I've ever seen.

    $170 for this BS? I want my money back!

    September 24, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. Jasonn

    Guess I can't refer to it as Floriduh anymore. You go, Herman!

    September 24, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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