Surprise victory puts him on page 1 of Sunday papers and talk shows while Romney and Perry scratch their heads
By Chris Ingram
In a surprising blow to Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain won the Republican Party of Florida’s Presidency 5 straw poll. Activisits totalling 2,657 delegates cast their votes in the balloting. The results of that straw poll are in and are as follows:
- Herman Cain, 37.1%
- Rick Perry, 15.4%
- Mitt Romney, 14.0%
- Rick Santorum, 10.9%
- Ron Paul, 10.4%
- Newt Gingrich, 8.4%
- Jon Huntsman, 2.3%
- Michele Bachmann, 1.5%
While many (including myself) predicted a strong 3rd or 4th place showing for Cain, few political insiders expected him to win. The victory gives Cain tremendous bragging rights — the Florida “Presidency” poll has accurately predicted the party nominee every time the poll has been conducted since 1979.
Cain’s no-nonsense, folksy style and direct answers to questions in last Thursday’s primetime debate won over many delegates. But based on the talk at the Orange County Convention Center since, it appeared more people were concerned with the question of how badly Perry’s debate performance had hurt him, not how well Cain had done.
That question has now been answered: it hurt Perry a lot — and Romney’s performance did little to help him.
For Romney and Perry this is moe than a slight set-back in as much as a second-place showing behind what has been perceived as a second-tier candidate is nothing to brag about. Romney is in a slightly better position than Perry though, because he technically didn’t participate in the event — though you wouldn’t know that from all the people at P5 trying to put “Romney for President” lapel stickers on your clothing.
For candidate Michelle Bachman who won the meaningless Ames, Iowa straw poll (where the winner is often decided by who buys the most delegate tickets) a few weeks back, her last place showing puts her campaign is doomed.
Equally doomed is John Huntsman whose second-to-last place finish shows conservative activists want a conservative nominee — no matter how appealing he may be against Barack Obama in November.
In the middle of the pack, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum remain respectable enough to go to the next Act, but ultimately their ability to raise campaign cash will determine their longevity, not straw polls.
Possibly the biggest loser in the straw poll is non-candidate Rick Scott, governor of Florida. Scott, who is believed to support Rick Perry behind-the-scenes, put tremendous emphasis on Florida’s straw poll precedent and boldly declared the winner of today’s poll would be the party’s nominee.
In unrelated Florida GOP news, the state Republican Party’s Executive Committee met last night for the purpose of electing a new chairman to succeed party boss Dave Bitner who died earlier this month. The committee unanimously elected Duval County party chairman Leonard Curry to fill the term.
In his address to the committee, Curry told members, “Come November, we’re going to show Barack Obama and [Senator] Bill Nelson what it’s like to have to look for a job.”
Curry was the party’s vice chairman. He ran unopposed.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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