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. Russ

    Perry is going to self destruct. Wait and see. Too many skeletons in his closet.

    September 24, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  2. Dan

    Uhhh... wahhh....
    We hear the democrats blaming republicans and tea parties of being racists since they do not like Obama's policies... how come a 'common sense" African American wins in GOP Florida poll? wooo wahhh... what do you say Wasserman-Schultz??

    September 25, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  3. Seattle Sue

    Just what does winning a straw poll mean for a candidate? Seems like Ron Paul has won quite a few straw polls over the years and Paul will not get the nomination much less win the Presidency. It apparently means nothing.

    September 25, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. duh

    You forfot to mention that even though Romey's name appeared on the ballot, he did not participate or campaign in the Florida poll.

    September 25, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  5. Ed

    Why am I not surprised that a Conservative Bla ck GOP candidate is NOT front page news on CNN.

    September 25, 2011 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  6. Sandy

    Winning the straw poll is the kiss of death.

    September 25, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  7. Oldie in TampaBay

    ROFL pizza vs dogcatcher

    September 25, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  8. Faber McMullen

    CNN says the Tea Parter Members are all racists. Oh, really? Then I guess they're up to their racist tactics by trying to put a REAL black man in the Whitehouse. I'm a Texas Rancher, and I'm pretty impressed with Hermann Cain. I'd love to see him run with Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich.

    September 25, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  9. Hugo Chav

    Cain is the most racist candidate in the GOP field. Perry takes a stand against racism on immigration and gets trounced. the GOP is still runned by racists

    September 25, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  10. Adam 9

    It seems like the republican candidates are cancelling one another out from state to state. I'm sure whoever wins will have the backing of the other challengers, but I've never seen such a divided field in a long time.

    September 25, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  11. steven phelps

    i didnt think anyone would take herman seriously, but then look at perry, the GOP is in shambles. they have none to run against Obama who could easily be beaten by a rational candidate. the GOP doesnt seem to have one rational person in their party anymore. Obama is still the best bet, the more the GOP talks the more apparent that is

    September 25, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  12. kat

    Good job Mr. Cain. Any of the candidates, with the exception of Paul would be better than the clown we have, but you have done an outstanding job and my prayers are with you for your courage.

    September 25, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  13. KWilson67

    Perry has been in this race for 5 weeks with a very lackluster political career in debating his opponents. The other candidates have had months & years to define and cultivate their respective political stance on the issues. He also has a long career, however, of winning public office. I would not write him off just yet~

    September 25, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  14. jon

    Third straw poll Cain has won, the media would rather keep that hush hush

    September 25, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  15. GOP R fakked!

    RINO Perry has a few problems

    1. Yes, Perry has held public office for 27 years
    2. Al Gore's campaigner
    3. Illegal immigrant sympathizer
    4. A deer in the headlights in a relatively friendly crowd/debate – Obama will rip him apart
    5. Can't win swing states – not another Texan

    Cain is a solid business man but mark my words – he won't win the GOP nomination.

    September 25, 2011 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  16. GOP R fakked!

    RINO Perry has a few problems

    1. Yes, Perry has held public office for 27 years
    2. Al Gore's campaigner
    3. Illegal immigrant sympathizer

    to be continued...

    September 25, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. Thomas

    A three-day convention, and only 2,657 votes? The Republican party's toast...

    September 25, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  18. Kevin Cardinal

    Why did you put Perry as the left pic instead of Caine? A clear subtle shot at Caine. The Left position, online, is the prominant position.

    September 25, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Perry is as good as done. His record of failure is appalling and his attempt at manipulating the Tea Party is an insult to their intelligence. If the GOP wants to win this thing, it's Romney or Huntsman. Perry is an embarrassment to all Americans, and especially Republicans. Bought and paid for by the highest bidder. Slick Rick, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    September 25, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  20. witchiepoo

    oh oh tea poutys, another black man....... you fools just can't win, can ya??? LOL!!!!

    September 25, 2011 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  21. luvmycountry

    Fascinating! I have the conviction that, despite all of the rhetoric and partisan arrogance, the American electorate is pretty darned smart. At the end of the day, they (we) will discern and elect the candidate that has the best interest of the country at heart...the candidate who demonstrates a true understanding of the social contract...the driving force of the profound intellectuals who
    were our founding fathers. I have yet to hear from a Republican who understands this, though I have been listening intently.

    September 25, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  22. clearfog

    Raising Cain

    September 25, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  23. Anonymous

    how is 2600 votes 37 percent. and 410 votes is 14%?

    September 25, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  24. MikeyZ

    "All hat and no cattle", as they like to say in Texas...

    September 25, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  25. Brian

    ROTFLMAO......kinda looks to me as though Ricky needs to go back to TX and create one more minimum wage job...for himself. I don't think folks are buying much of what he is trying to sell.

    September 25, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
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