Florida Republican straw poll shocker: Herman Cain wins with 37.1 %, Perry at 15.4 %by George Bennett | September 24th, 2011
ORLANDO — Florida Republican activists delivered a stinging rebuke to frontrunner Rick Perry today, giving longshot Herman Cain a resounding victory in a presidential straw poll.
Former Godfathers Pizza CEO Cain, supported by less than 10 percent of Republicans in most polls, got 37.1 percent support today from 2,657 delegates at the Republican Party of Florida’s “Presidency 5″ conference.
Texas Gov. Perry, who tops most national and Florida polls, finished a distant second with 15.4 percent.
In a rousing speech before the vote, Cain urged delegates to ignore “the nasty rumor that Herman Cain can’t win” and instead “send Washington a message.”
The straw poll voters certainly sent Perry a message.
Perry was the slam-dunk favorite to win the “Presidency 5″ vote until Thursday night. But his wobbly performance in a nationally televised debate caused many Republicans to reexamine their support.
The loss was particularly devastating for Perry because, while rival Mitt Romney and others downplayed the straw poll’s significance, Perry pointedly played it up.
“There are a number of folks whose campaigns have spurned this tradition of the Florida straw poll, and I think that’s a big mistake. I think the Florida straw poll is very important,” Perry said this morning to about 1,000 delegates at a breakfast his campaign provided.