Republican Rand Paul at the CPAC

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Rand Paul won the straw poll for the third year in a row at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), but it was a close win. The strong second was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Other winners in the top five included Texan Senators Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush respectively. Bush only received eight percent of the votes.

The straw poll has been taken at the CPAC 20 times and in four of those cases the winner became the Republican presidential nominee. All four of those cases were also in an election year. However, Paul is now tied with Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp with his three wins in the straw poll. The leader in the number of straw poll wins is Mitt Romney with four. Ron Paul has won twice. Rand Paul and Ron Paul are the only two straw poll winners, with at least two wins, that have not gotten onto the GOP ticket.

Even though the straw poll does not mean much, Paul’s supporters applauded and shouted when his name was called as the poll’s winner. Paul said he was both humbled and encouraged. There was a strong showing of Libertarians that attended the CPAC and many Republicans gauge Libertarians to see which way they are leaning. The Paul family has long been able to identify with Libertarians, although he is a Republican. There were 3,007 voters between ages of 18 and 25, the majority supporting the legalization of marijuana, that attended. Paul has a strong college backing to legalize marijuana.

Kelly Anne Conway presented a break-down of the voter’s responses. On the topic of gay marriage, 18 percent have decided that if a presidential candidate voted in support of gay marriage it would disqualify that presidential candidate. Then the CPAC was surprised to learn that 82 percent of voters would be fine with a vote for gay marriage.

When it came to abortion, everything seemed to be split. Pro-lifers wanted a total ban on abortion, but there were many pro-lifers that considered abortion only for the life of the mother. There were still others voting for the allowance of abortion for rape and incest. Those that were pro-choice could not decide on abortion during just the first trimester, the first two trimesters or anytime.

Illegal immigration was split between the National Review and the Wall Street Journal positions. The Neocon foreign policy and the non-interventionists will not in any way agree.

There was a lot of discussion on foreign policy that focused on intervention. Paul is watching the Middle East cautiously. In his speech, Paul warned that America should tread carefully around any government in conflict overseas. Paul feels if all of the focus is overseas, serious issues could be missed here in the United States.

After the CPAC was over there were still many festivities, including the annual “Reaganpalooza.” For those who stayed at the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center, the annual “Unstable Bar Tab Party” was hosted by Gene Berardelli and the Brooklyn, New York Republican Party. No word on which party Paul attended, however, it is assumed he joined in the celebration with other Republicans after closing the three-day CPAC.

By Jeanette Smith


Communities Digital News

ABC News



Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore – Flickr License

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore – Flickr License