Hunter wins GOP straw poll in Texas

From the Associated Press

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) won Texas’ first GOP presidential straw poll Saturday in a low-turnout event that lacked the top-tier candidates.

Hunter got 534 votes, or 41% of the vote. Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who is expected to announce his candidacy this week but was not at the event, came in second with 266 votes, or nearly 21%. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas came in third with 217 votes, or 17%.

Crowd support seemed split between Hunter and Paul, whose supporters waved signs and chanted his name throughout the day.

Other candidates attending were Chicago businessman John Cox, who got 10 votes; counter-terrorism expert Hugh Cort of Birmingham, Ala., who got three votes; and tool-and-die maker Ray McKinney of Savannah, Ga., with 28 votes.

Each of the other absent but better-known candidates received less than 7% of the vote. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came in fourth with 83 votes; former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani received 78 votes; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney received 61 votes; and Sen. John McCain of Arizona garnered eight votes.


Others who didn’t attend, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, each received six votes.

The Texas primary is scheduled for March 4.

The straw poll is only for party activists, and those casting ballots must have been a delegate or an alternate to a recent GOP state or national convention.

Last month’s Iowa Republican straw poll, which Romney won, was open to any voter who paid for a ticket.

Texas GOP officials had said they expected 2,000 people to vote Saturday; 1,300 did.