The straw poll was held in Los Angeles as part of the state GOP’s Fall Convention. Paul garnered 44.9 percent of the vote (374 votes out of 833 cast), 15 percentage points ahead of second-place finisher Gov. Rick Perry, who got 29.3 percent. Former Gov. Mitt Romney came in a distant third at 8.8 percent followed by Rep. Michele Bachmann at 7.7 percent.
“This win is just the latest indication of our campaign’s growing momentum,” said Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton. “Americans are sick and tired of the status quo and Dr. Paul offers a real change, and hope for a free and prosperous future.”
This latest boost to Ron Paul’s campaign was not exactly what state party officials, who are not enthralled with Paul's candidacy, were hoping for. As the San Francisco Chronicle observed in its story on Ron Paul’s victory:
Paul is fighting an uphill battle, even with his own party. State GOP officials publicly invited Perry, Romney and Bachmann to speak. They snubbed Paul, who showed up anyway. On Saturday, most party officials steered clear of his events.
But there was a notable exception to the reception given Paul and his supporters by party officials. The Chronicle continued:
Former state party Chairman Shawn Steele, a member of the Republican National Committee, was the exception, telling Paul's supporters they were infusing the GOP with "a whole bunch of raw energy that we haven't had in the party for decades."
Perry and Romney, though invited to the convention, did not attend. Bachmann did attend — and for her efforts she was given the opportunity to give the keynote speech to the convention Friday night. Yet, despite the highlighting of Bachmann and the snubbing of Paul by state GOP officials, events unfolded in such a way that the Chronicle titled its story: “Ron Paul the unlikely star of state GOP convention.”
Unlikely or not, Paul’s convention stardom was evident the moment he arrived. The Los Angeles Times described the scene:
Raucous cheers and whistles and whoops and screams — one could be forgiven for wondering if they were for an elderly 11-term House politician or Justin Bieber — announced Paul's presence outside the doors. He then entered to another round of cheers and camera flashes.
But the major media largely ignored Paul’s star performance at the California Republican State Convention, though there were a number of exceptions.
Photo: Ron Paul