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Rand Paul big winner in conservative straw poll

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Sunday, March 9, 2014, at 10:59 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 10, 2014, at 6:59 a.m.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won overwhelmingly the Washington Times/Conservative Action Political Conference presidential straw poll, winning nearly three times as many votes as his nearest challenger.

The CPAC conference, an annual gathering of the nation's most influential conservatives, annually conducts a survey among participants. Paul, whose father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, was also popular here, won the poll last year.

Paul got 31 percent this time. Second this year was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, another conservative favorite. He got 11 percent up from last year's 6 percent.

If there was a message in the vote, it's that Washington officials aren't popular. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who got nearly a quarter of the votes last year, tumbled to 6 percent. 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan went from 6 percent last year to 3 percent this year.

About half the CPAC voters said they disapproved of the job Republicans were doing in Congress.

That discontent showed in the third through sixth choices: Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

CPAC attendees heard from most of the potential White House candidates last week. The conference was held at the National Harbor resort in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.


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