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. grinninglibber

    All this shows is how meaningless straw polls are. Neither has a prayer.

    September 25, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  2. NukeTim

    Many more trouncings in TRickster Perry's foreseeable future.

    Did you see it coming, TRick? I DID.

    Get out now, while you can still bow out graciously. The longer you wait, the worse it will be. Admit your stupid mistake now....

    September 25, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  3. Clwyd

    do 2,000+ votes mean anything when the state of Florida has millions of voters? A Pizza salesman! How fitting for the republican party to cast these votes for anything clown That is all the republican'ts have running! Clowns and loony tunes!

    September 25, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  4. toughstrawforGOP

    What will the GOP do if it turns out that BOTH presidetial nominees are BLACK men? Or will they make sure that NEVER happens. Would they be will to risk having Obama perhaps win the presidency again (a march they have been on for two or more years now) in favor of putting a WHITE tea party candidate into office....who will most likely LOSE in a general election.....or will they allow Cain to be the nominee....understanding that NO WHITE skin will be running in 2012. Politics and racism....tough mix for the GOP.

    September 25, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  5. sundownr

    This loss by Perry means nothing in America is cast in cement and certainly nothing in American politics can now be counted by either major party. If this is what is called doubt then we Americans certainly have our share of doubt. I can only hope the GOP quits coming on with these phantom wins and realize they are losing as fast and as much as the rest of us.

    September 25, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  6. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    More proof the GOBP is unable to come up with a reasonable candidate to provide the assistance and ideas America needs to move forward. Fear, lies, ignorance and hate are not the basis for a viable political party. Neither is helping only the greedy and not the needy. Again, this is not a political party, it's a CULT.

    September 25, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. GaryB

    Cain is a hometown favorite in Florida and a Tes Party favorite, so these results aren't that surprising. Had a centrist like John Huntsman finished on top or if Cain had finished in fourth, those would have been true upsets.

    September 25, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  8. diridi

    Perry is a plain "IDIOT". I do not know the Pizza guy....but Perry is a bald-truth idiot.....o.k,

    September 25, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  9. Whatever

    Yawn!! Do straw polls mean anything?? All that matters is who is the named nominee at the convention... winner of the primaries not the polls.

    September 25, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  10. tet1953

    Big freakin deal. He is from a neighboring state for one thing. Looik what happened to Bachmann after her "win". It is entertaining though watching the GOP and TP shred each other.

    September 25, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  11. PaulC

    Imagine if Herman Cain won the Republican nomination!
    Heads would explode all over the country if you had a black running against a (half) black.

    September 25, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  12. 4F

    Gives new meaning to the phrase "raising cain". It would be neat to see a matchup between Cain and Obama in 2012. The leadership edge would go to Cain. Obama is not a leader and is a lightweight compared to Cain.

    September 25, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. ZweiStein fire!

    September 25, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. Belinda R Higgins

    Herman Cain is the only GOP candidate who makes sense when he speaks. As a democrat, I don't plan on voting for him but I do believe he is the best choice for the repubs. at this time. I suspect the "party" will not offer him much support though.

    September 25, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  15. Rinos for Winos

    I think this just shows how divided the GOP really is. Their lack of direction in platform and candidate show they have lost direction and focus. Some might say they have lost their collective soul.

    September 25, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. kd

    Gee, think Perry's loss has anything to do with his shoot-down of Social Security?? (note the sarcasm)

    September 25, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. kd

    Belinda HIggins: Can you name anything Cain has said that makes sense? Actually, NONE of these candidates say things that make any sense. That's what happens when they try to appeal to the most extreme of the extreme.

    September 25, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  18. Tony

    Republicans may have found a reason to dislike Perry, but they still cannot bring themselves to vote for Romney.

    September 25, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. Maine LIberal

    Every one wins .. Open convention if this trend keeps up thru the primaries

    September 25, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. Charlie in Maine

    I wonder if Florida GOPers were so shamed by the election of 2000 and the insuinig "Bush Error" that they would go to any lengths to avoid having a hyper religoius nut job governor of Texas appear on their ballot (butterfly or otherwise) ever again. Just thinkin aloud is all.

    September 25, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. maggie

    Perry's support of instate tuition for illegal immigrants is about the only thing I support him on. The fact of the matter is that Washington as a whole has no stomach to deal with illegal immigration. It never has. The millions of immgrants who are here now are going nowhere. That is just reality. As a country, we're better off giving them the tools to enhance themselves and contribute to the taxpaying society than be put in aposition where they have no choice but to suck off of it. This is just reality and all of the emotional uproar won't change what already is.

    September 25, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  22. Canadian Jim

    WHy are you people even discussing this article. If Cain received 37% of the votes with 2,657 votes, then there were 7181 people voting. If Perry received 410 votes then he only got 5.7% which puts him behind Newt Gingrich. I posted this 24 hours ago with a request for CNN to check their numbers, All they did was remove the post. No one reading this has any clue what the actual numbers were. For all we know Obama won the straw poll. IF there is no accuracy, there is no news to talk about, except the ineptness of the media source. Let's see if they give us the right facts, or delete this post. (Which one takes the least effort?)

    September 25, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. korkea aika

    What a joke. What Senior Citizen in his/her right mind would vote for Perry. Not to mention other minorities? Lots of luck if Perry is the nominee.

    September 25, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. vic , nashville ,tn

    2 to 1(37 to 15) victory that is big blow to Perry this straw poll caucus little bit smart they push Michele Bachmann to last

    September 25, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Joe

    But wait! Republicans are racists! This just goes to show libtards will use any method to try to get votes because they cannot win on their own merits. Here is a man in Herman Cain who actually knows how to run a business and has some great experience. And for it conservatives recognize that. Unlike liberals who could not see right from the beginning they were nominating a Marxist with zero experience. Now look what they get? Unemployment that keeps getting worse and worse. Look who is being effected the most? Unfortunately the African-American community. And look what Obama went and did the other day, not through an act of congress, but through his own dictatorial way, allowed schools to opt out of an act that made teachers responsible for actually teaching children in schools. And what schools will opt out? The inner city schools where the children need it the most! He is trying to keep the minority children down. For without a good education, they will continue to vote for the liberals. If you educate them, they will learn. That is after all what Liberals claim they want, but after all, they just care about your votes. Not about you!

    September 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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