Denver presidential straw poll puts Cruz ahead

For presidential hopefuls, it’s never too early to begin the campaign. Stump speeches are formed and exploratory polling is conducted shortly after the induction of the current President. While potential nominees are far from declaring their presidential bids, the thought lingers in the back of their heads and they begin to position themselves accordingly.

Last weekend, the Denver straw poll at Western Conservative Summit 2013 may have reinforced or propelled certain names into the campaign spotlight. While the main goal of the summit was to energize moral and cultural renewal in America, participants also wanted an early voice in upcoming political contests. So the third annual Denver straw poll tested support for a long list of names that may figure in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

With 504 summit delegates casting ballots (about a third of the total who were there on the final day), freshman senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the poll handily with 45%. Other heavy hitters in the poll included Governor Scott Walker, with 13%, and Col. Allen West, with 9%.

Cruz received a booming standing ovation with his discussion of conscience in constitutional conservatism in a Saturday luncheon speech that sounded decidedly presidential. Cruz listed issues such as 2nd amendment protection measures, regulatory reform, abolishing the IRS and defunding Obamacare as his main talking points. Cruz may, however, have an opponent in Col. Allen West, who received several standing ovations during his closing talk on Sunday.

This was the fourth year of Western Conservative Summit and the third year for the Denver straw poll.  Herman Cain won a surprise decisive victory in 2011 as delegates looked for a GOP challenger to President Barack Obama.  At Summit 2012, with Mitt Romney already victorious as the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won the straw poll nod as delegates’ choice for vice president.

Denver Straw Poll Results 7/28/13

Sen. Ted Cruz 225 (45%)

Gov. Scott Walker 65 (13%)

Col. Allen West 43 (9%)

Sen. Rand Paul 43 (9%)

Dr. Ben Carson 34

Sen. Marco Rubio 16

Gov. Chris Christie 13

Rep. Paul Ryan 13

Sen. Rick Santorum 9

Gov. Rick Perry      6

Gov. Susana Martinez 5

Sen. John Thune 5

Gov. Mike Huckabee 4

Gov. Nikki Haley 3

Gov. Bobby Jindal 3

Gov. Mike Pence 3

Gov. Jeb Bush 3

Gov. Mitch Daniels 3

Gov. Bob McDonnell 2

Gov. Sarah Palin 1

Gov. John Kasich 1

Total Votes: 504

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