CPAC straw poll: Battle of the Titans, Christie v. Paul

Christie was snubbed by CPAC, but he may yet emerge as the darling of the Conservatives. Photo: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie sits next to First Lady Michelle Obama at White House dinner for National Governor Association AP

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2013 — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was snubbed by the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, probably for his chumminess with President Obama, but his name made the CPAC presidential straw poll for 2016. That could mean he will be the candidate to upset the hopes of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) when the results are tallied at the conference’s end on Saturday.

Eight thousand conservatives are gathered at National Harbor, just outside of Washington, D.C., from today through Saturday, for a national discussion of the direction of the country and to hear from Conservative stars of yesteryear like former governor Sarah Palin and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and rising stars like Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

But the real harbinger of things to come will be the CPAC straw poll, sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.

So while Christie was not invited to be at the podium, he is the GOP elephant in the room to watch, even though his name is only one of 23 on the poll’s list. If he does what some Conservatives may view as the unthinkable and wins the poll, Christie could swiftly become the Golden Boy of the Republican Party.

In past years, the winners of the straw poll pretty much gave a real sense of the mood of Conservative politics. In recent years, the following are some of the winners of the straw poll:

2006 — George Allen

2007 — Mitt Romney

2008 — Mitt Romney

2009 — Mitt Romney

2010 — Ron Paul

2011 — Ron Paul

2012  — Mitt Romney

So  are the Conservatives trending Libertarian ala Rand Paul, or more centrist, Chris Christie? Or are they looking for a new face, such as Dr. Ben Carson, the African American neurosurgeon whose speech at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year upstaged President Obama’s appearance, making Carson the new darling of the right. Carson is the only name on the list who has held no elected political office. He may be the true outsider the Conservatives are looking for.

A CPAC voter can write in a name or vote Undecided. Here is the list of 23 prospects.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Ohio Gov. John Kasich

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Oho Sen. Rob Portman

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott

South Dakota Sen. John Thune

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Read more from Catherine Poe at Ad Lib


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

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