The straw poll results were announced and the winner was Ron Paul. No surprise there. The national media made a big deal out of it as they always do but Republicans don't pay much attention to that. If a candidate buses in supporters for hire then it is predictable that that candidate will win the poll. Right?
The important selection was the second runner up. Who was that? Jon Huntsman. I was really disappointed that Huntsman was unable to attend and give his speech as he was ill. I wanted to see him in person. So, it is even more notable that he won the second highest slot in the poll. Huntsman is thought to be more of a moderate Republican and this crowd is the more conservative part of the party. This could be really good encouragement for the Huntsman campaign.
Palin, you may be interested to know, polled toward the bottom of the slate.
The final day brought some lesser known candidates and elected officials along with the Chairman of the Republican party and the Commander of the squad that captured Saddam Hussein. He has a book out. George P. Bush spoke and is, no doubt, a future candidate.
Former U.S. Congressman and Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer gave an interesting speech. Out of politics for the past 20 years, he feels compelled to enter back into the arena. His theme is that we need to be bold. CEO of a bank, he is a numbers man. He explained the necessity of following the money in politics and explained today's economic mess as well as the way money corrupts the political process. He pledged to take no PAC money, no special interest money, and no contributions over $100. He said he has received contributions from 37 states - more than any other candidate and that his campaign is debt-free. It's an interesting approach.
The headliner was Texas Governor Rick Perry. The crowd was very excited to hear him and his ideas. He boasted of the success in Texas in the economic downturn and rightly so. Security was noticeably increased as he came on stage. It was the same during Governor Jindal's speech Friday but not during Governor Barbour's speech Friday.
I now have no doubt that Rick Perry will enter the race after the Special Session in Austin concludes a bit later this month. Originally I didn't think he would do it but now that the field is forming as it is, I think those around him have convinced him that he can be a game changer.
As a bit of a break, the Louisiana GOP presented a comedic tape of an Obama impersonator and how he helps the Republicans make gains in seats. Then the impersonator came on stage and did a performance. A lot of it was funny stuff. Some not so much. I watched the reactions of the national press seated in their rows at the back of the room and they were not showing any amused looks at all. Until a couple of pretty offensive jokes at the expense of Romney and Pawlenty. Then there were grins and chuckles from those rows. Keep all that in mind as you read their reporting of the conference.
The press is biased. They would have you think there is no strong challenger up to the task of taking on Barack Obama.
They are wrong.