Austin, TX - United States Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky won the presidential preference straw poll at the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) National Convention in Austin, Texas. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas finished second and Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, finished third.
Some 331 convention delegates from 38 states had a list of 26 names compiled from media searches of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates. They were asked to mark their first, second and third place choices. The scoring system was 3 points for a first, 2 points for a second and 1 point for a third.
Behind Paul, Cruz and Napolitano the top vote-getters in order were Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, former-New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, former-Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and Dr. Benjamin Carson, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Medical Center and 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner. All others on the list received one percent or less.
“Much will happen by 2016, but this gives the Republican Party an early indicator of the sentiments of the growing Liberty Republican wing of the party,” said RLC National Chair Matt Nye of Florida.
Nye stressed that the straw poll was not a scientific survey and was a convention fun event. The RLC will not make an official presidential endorsement until late-2015 or early-2016. Under its bylaws procedures, an Endorsement Committee will perform preliminary reviews and interviews and recommend a list of liberty-acceptable candidates to the RLC National Board. The Board will then make a recommendation which must be ratified by two-thirds of the state chapters before it becomes the official RLC endorsement.
“Because our endorsement is important in the 2016 race, our informal poll gives candidates an opportunity to see where they stand and what they need to do to reach out to the Liberty Republican movement,” Nye said.