Rand Paul wins 2013 CPAC presidential straw poll
March 16th, 2013
05:41 PM ET
10 years 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."

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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. manyote

    Hooray!! 'Rant' Paul in 2017! (-; (-;

    March 17, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    @Cam: "I'm glad to see that Rand Paul won. He is the only politician who stands up for the protection of our civil liberties."

    Unless, of course, you're a woman ...

    March 17, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. BeverlyNC

    Well this shows the Republican Party has not changed their extremist policies at all and have now doubled-down on destroying the social and economic infrastructure of our nation.
    They learned nothing from their landslide defeat and the clear message the American People sent that Republican policies are OPPOSITE of today's America and our priorities.
    Republicans are going to continue to self-destruct and win no major elections for many years to come. Rand Paul? Really?

    March 17, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Silly goose

    That's how you become an irrelevant party. We are clearly witnessing the demise of the GOP.

    March 17, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. John

    Having people like this Is way the Republican can't win a election.

    March 17, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. M-W-T

    In a time when many Americans are having a tuff time making ends meet, Can anyone tell one thing that a republican has done to help other Americans?????? President Obama is at least trying. You may not like him, but, He is trying to help ALL AMERICANS.
    Republicans would let our economy go down the toilet before they will work with the POTUS.
    What the Hell is wrong with these people
    I'm an Independent voter,.....an it will be a very long time before I ever TRUST or Vote for any republican again
    Michael W. Trottier

    March 17, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Weasley

    Rand Paul wins straw poll only because Chris Christie wasn't invited to CPAC.

    March 17, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Ralph_in_FL

    Delegate counts win nominations. Electoral vote counts win elections. Straw polls count for nothing.

    March 17, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Steve Hamilton

    This is continuing good news for the Democrats. I do not believe that a return to Isolationism is going to resonate well with any reasonably well educated voter. If the GOP runs Paul for president, he will lose in the manner that Goldwater did in the mid 1960's. Paul is a good example of what ails the GOP; no-one with any commonsense or business experience is in a position of responsibility. The RNC head is a doofus. The Tea Party members are somewhere between insurrection and anarchy. Thei recent position of violence against women has alienated every thinking woman voter in the country. The Hispanics don't trust their constantly shifting position on immigration reform. Certainly, no blacks or union members or person relying on Medicare will vote for a GOP presidential candidate. Who's left? White, wealthy males. This CEPAC meeting illustrates what George Washington meant in his Farewell Address to Americans, about 200 years ago, when he said, "beware the evils of party". The good news is that these people are so in denial about what most Americans want and need today that they will implode.

    March 17, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Bob S.

    If this polling of conservatives is correct it would appear that the Right has learned nothing from their mistakes and the last election. That Sarah Palin was even invited speaks volumes. I fear the liberals will remain in power for the forseeable future.

    March 17, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Bart Brown

    Oh, PUHLEEEEEEZE run Randy Paul in 2016 (if anyone even remembers him then) - it would be so much more satisfying than beating Mitt Romney, who defeated himself in 2012.

    March 17, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Dave Cates

    Does Rand Paul happen to be related to Lindsey Graham in any way?

    March 17, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Eioljg

    Straw poll, straw man. Just like Bachmann won the so called "straw poll" in Iowa, which basically meant she paid for more voted.

    March 17, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. disgusted with politics

    republicans are going to sabotage taking the presidency putting up another unelectable candidate. while Rand has some good qualities and policies he has many others that are not good policy

    March 17, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. don in albuquerque

    @Scott--Don't stand for anything? I think we just had an election that would prove you are mistaken.

    March 17, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. elijah

    I think someone needs to tell the GOP we just had a presidental election. The next one is not till another 3 years and 7 months. They can focus on helping the nation for a little before worrying about the person (it will be male) who runs next.

    March 17, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Double b

    Paull, Rubio & Santorum? RIP GOP

    March 17, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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