GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) won the 31st biannual presidential straw poll at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference (MRLC) on Saturday.
Paul delivered the keynote speech prior to the straw poll results being announced.
Paul’s campaign said that the MRLC straw poll is the largest pre-caucus poll since the cancellation of the Iowa Straw Poll.
“Since established in 1953 by the Michigan Republican Party, the MRLC straw poll has been considered a gauge of where the grassroots and party leaders are leaning with regard to the presidential race. The straw poll was previously won by Gov. Mitt Romney in 2011,” noted Paul’s campaign in a press release.
John Yob, a political strategist supporting Paul, posted on Twitter, “In 2007 the overperformance of John McCain at Mackinac was the beginning of the McCain comeback that ended with the primary nomination.”
Yob added, “Mitt Romney won Michigan in 2008 and 2012 after winning Mackinac in 2007 and 2011.”
The MRLC straw poll results:
Rand Paul: 22%
Carly Fiorina: 15%
John Kasich: 14%
Ted Cruz: 13%
Jeb Bush: 9.7%
“Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and billionaire Donald Trump, who both did not attend the conference, trailed behind Bush with 8.4 percent and and 6.8 percent, respectively. Famed neurosurgeon and Detroit native Dr. Ben Carson, who also skipped the conference, finished eighth at 5.5 percent,” reported The Detroit News.
Paul responded to the results:
It is an honor to win the MRLC straw poll as it is voted on by the most influential Michigan GOP members, grassroots leaders and party activists from throughout the country. I believe that the future is bright for our party, but we must not dilute our message. We must be boldly for conservative principles like balancing the budget, restraining the powers of the federal government, and passing term limits to get rid of the career politicians in both parties.
He concluded, “I will continue to be a leader on these issues in the hopes of defeating the Washington Machine and unleashing the American Dream.”
A local NBC report stated Cruz, Kasich, Fiorina and Paul spoke Saturday at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke Friday at the event. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker canceled his appearance due to a flight cancelation because of weather and finished 9th in the event’s straw poll with 2.5 percent.