Like his father former Rep. Ron Paul before him, Sen. Rand Paul won CPAC's presidential straw poll of conservative activists. But In the 40-year history of CPAC, only two straw poll winners have gone on to become president – Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD
Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican senator from Kentucky, won the presidential straw poll Saturday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Senator Paul’s victory, with 25 percent of the vote, was fueled by strong support from college students who came to CPAC by the busload. Paul was following in the footsteps of his father, retired Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas, a three-time presidential candidate who rode the support of young, libertarian-oriented voters to CPAC straw poll victory in 2010 and 2011. Libertarians emphasize keeping the role of government in daily life as small as possible.
Coming in a close second was Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida with 23 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R) of Pennsylvania came in third with 8 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) came in fourth with 7 percent – noteworthy, because Governor Christie was not invited to speak at CPAC this year. Christie, the most popular Republican in the country, had worked closely with President Obama after hurricane Sandy right before last November’s election, probably hurting Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
In all, 23 names appeared on the ballot, a sign of how wide open the 2016 presidential race is. In the 40-year history of CPAC, only two straw poll winners have gone on to become president – Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.