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« SRLC: Republicans Seek Unity For 2010 | Blog Home Page | Palin Is Back -- On "SNL" »

SRLC: Romney Wins Straw Poll

NEW ORLEANS -- Mitt Romney won the Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll today with 24% of the vote -- garnering 1 more vote than Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich tied for third with 18%.

There were a total of 1,806 votes cast. Romney received 439 votes, Paul 438.

The poll, meant to take the pulse of Southern GOP activists, has little meaning, but Romney -- who did not even attend the event -- will surely use it to tout his credentials. He was even able to defeat Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February and pushed his supporters to attend this event.

Romney, as David Weigel reported, received some help from Nancy French's Evangelicals for Mitt, who offered "around 200 tickets for free, for anyone who wants to come and support Mitt Romney."

Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist won the straw poll at the 2006 SRLC in Memphis, where he bused supporters in to boost his vote total. However, Frist did not end up running for president. John McCain, the frontrunner at the time, threw off the credibility of the results that year by encouraging his supporters to vote for George W. Bush.

This year's straw poll ballot did not offer a line to write-in a candidate not listed. The candidates on the ballot included: Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Mike Pence, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Not on the ballot were Haley Barbour, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and John Thune.

2010 SRLC Straw Poll Results
Romney 24 (439 votes)
Paul 24 (438)
Palin 18 (330)
Gingrich 18 (321)
Huckabee 4
Pawlenty 3
Pence 3
Santorum 2
Johnson 1

*1,806 votes cast