Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, beating several high-profile names among his party’s potential 2016 White House contenders.
Paul edged out GOP rival and fellow Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in the largely symbolic survey among a crowded field of two dozen candidates. Those Paul bested include former Republican vice presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan.
Kentucky’s junior senator won with 25 percent of the vote, ahead of Rubio who had 23 percent and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania who came in was third place with 8 percent.
From USA Today:
Lauri Dabbieri, a high school teacher from Fairfax County, Va., said she voted for Paul when she heard the senator say he would abolish the federal Department of Education, which she called “completely useless.’ Education is a local issue, she said.
So did Antonio de la Pena, a college student at University of Virginia, who called Paul “a more toned down version of Ron Paul.” Phil Johnson, 27, a technology project manager for a financial services company, said the senator is “the one candidate who has a grasp on liberty.”
Earlier this week, Paul’s speech before the CPAC crowd urged the Republican Party to adopt new ideas and embrace a more libertarian tone to attract younger voters.