Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) easily swept a straw poll of 2016 GOP contenders at the Maine GOP convention this weekend, securing nearly a hundred votes more than the next best potential presidential candidate.The Tea Party is a force to be reckoned with in the GOP primary system.
Paul topped the field with 176 votes out of 690 cast, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finishing second with 98 votes. Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker rounded out the top three vote-getters in the straw poll with 70 votes, while Dr. Ben Carson placed fourth with 62 votes.
Establishment Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) couldn’t even break the top four in the Maine GOP straw poll. Christie placed fifth with 60 votes, Bush sixth with 57 votes, and Ryan seventh with 37. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) all received fewer than 30 votes.