Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll

Updated
Sen. Rand Paul speaks at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 14, 2013.
Sen. Rand Paul speaks at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 14, 2013.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Sen. Rand Paul has won the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll with 25% of the vote. Coming in second with 23% was Sen. Marco Rubio.

The straw poll is considered to be a way to gauge where the conservative base stands on potential Republican nominees for president. Last year, during a pivotal Republican primary, Mitt Romney won the most votes at 38% and eventually moved on to win the GOP presidential nomination.

So who did the 8,000 conservative leaders and activists who are attending CPAC vote for this year? The official ballot had 23 names on it ranging from potential 2016 contenders like Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Dr. Ben Carson. In addition the names already on the ballot, CPAC participants wrote in 44 more people including Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, according to Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.

Also included in this year’s poll was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, two men who were not invited to this year’s conference because they didn’t seem to meet the correct standards put forth by Al Cardenas’s, the CPAC chairman.

The 2013 CPAC comes at a time when the Republican party is trying to sort out who exactly they are and recover from the scars of 2012. As The Cycle host Steve Kornacki pointed out in his Salon.com article:

“It’s hard to say exactly how well the conference, which serves as an umbrella for a funky area of right-leaning groups and causes, reflects the conservative movement, but the events of the next few days could provide some useful clues about where conservatism is heading in Barack Obama’s second term and the role that some prominent and ambitious Republicans will play in it.”


There is one notable name that seems to be absent from this year’s CPAC straw poll: Jeb Bush. According to a spokesperson for Bush, the former governor wanted to be left off of the poll because he believes “it is too early to think about 2016.”

Check them out below and let us know who you think should have won the 2013 straw poll in the comments section below.

Senator Rand Paul (KY) - 25%

Senator Marco Rubio (FL)- 23%

Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA)- 8%

Governor Chris Christie (NJ) - 7%

Representative Paul Ryan (WI) - 6%

Governor Scott Walker (WI) - 5%

Dr. Ben Carson- 4%

Governor Bobby Jindal (LA)- 3%

Former Governor Sarah Pallin (AK) - 3%

Other- 14%

The full ballot was as follows:

Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH)

Governor Jan Brewer (AZ)

Governor Sam Brownback (KS)

Dr. Ben Carson- 4%

Governor Chris Christie (NJ) - 7%

Senator Ted Cruz (TX) - 4%

Former Governor Mitch Daniels (IN)

Governor Nikki Haley (SC)

Governor Bobby Jindal (LA)- 3%

Governor John Kasich (OH)

Governor Susana Martinez (NM)

Governor Bob McDonnell (VA)

Former Governor Sarah Pallin (AK) - 3%

Senator Rand Paul (KY) - 25%

Governor Mike Pence (IN)

Governor Rick Perry (TX)

Senator Rob Portman (OH)

Senator Marco Rubio (FL)- 23%

Representative Paul Ryan (WI) - 6%

Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA)- 8%

Senator Tim Scott (S.C.)

Senator John Thunes (S.D.)

Governor Scott Walker (WI) - 5%

Other- 14%

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Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll

Updated