Conservative activists vote for Rand Paul to be GOP 2016 presidential candidate

Rand Paul has emerged victorious in this year's Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll

by The Commentator on 16 March 2013 20:28

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Conservative activists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, USA this weekend have voted for Senator Rand Paul in the event’s official straw poll, a non-binding vote on preference of candidate.

CPAC delegates were asked to vote electronically for whom they would like to see represent the Republican Party of America at the next general election due in 2016. 2930 people participated.

The result came back: Rand Paul, with 25 percent voting for the Senator for Kentucky. Florida Senator Marco Rubio came in a close second with 23 percent.

The result comes on the back of a strong showing for Paul as a result of his increased profile in recent months. Just last week, Paul delivered an almost 14 hour long filibuster of the nomination of the new CIA director John Brennan, pushing the issue of drone strikes to the fore.

His supporters, mainly inherited from his father Ron Paul’s political base, have been the most vocal and active at CPAC this year, brandishing “Stand with Rand” merchandise including t-shirts, badges and more.

The CPAC straw poll is regarded as a bellwether for the Republican Party, indicating which policy issues the party base is most concerned with, and serving as a platform for charismatic leaders within the conservative movement.

Critics have noted however, that the straw poll is hardly scientific, and that it is easily influenced by candidates who ‘bus in’ activists to vote – a charge hat has been leveled at two-time straw poll winner Ron Paul (2010, 2011).

Previous winners have included Ronald Reagan (1976, 1980, 1984), Steve Forbes (1998), George W. Bush (2000), and Mitt Romney (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012).

The full results can be viewed here.

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