Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz won a straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference this past weekend, giving the Tea Party darling another boost in the 2016 speculations.
Cruz finished with nearly a third of the vote, 30.33%, followed closely by Dr. Ben Carson, a Fox News commentator, with 29.38%. Kentucky’s Sen. Rand Paul came in third, with 10.43%, according to CNN.
Cruz cemented his sweet spot with the far right last October, when he orchestrated a government shutdown as a protest to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Cruz claimed that such a shutdown could defund the health care law even though that funding largely wasn’t under Congress’s discretion with the budget and hosted an all-night faux filibuster in which he famously read Dr. Seuss’s ”Green Eggs and Ham,” a book about not dismissing something until you try it.
Cruz gave a popular speech at the Leadership Conference, CNN reports, to standing ovations and raucous cheers. The conference took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Cruz predicted the midterm loss of the state’s Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republicans’ midterms success.
“There is an urgency facing this country – there is an urgency in politics unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” he said, saying the fear of losing freedoms and rights and of national debt would propel the movement that elected him forward.
“America is waking up. We are seeing revival, we are seeing renewal, and together—mark my words—we are going to turn this nation around,” he said.
Cruz has polled well, particularly in his home state of Texas and amongst the far-right, but other possible candidates like Jeb Bush and Paul have polled stronger in other polls conducted by pollsters nationwide, according to the Huffington Post’s poll aggregate.