Saturday, July 30, 2011

Colorado straw poll this weekend will test early strength of GOP field

Gov. Rick Perry’s name won’t appear on the key Iowa straw poll ballot next month, but he’ll face a test of his strength among Western conservatives this weekend in Denver.

Organizers of the Western Conservative Summit have put Perry on a straw poll ballot along with other major announced and unannounced candidates. Perry is one of two keynote speakers at the event. White House Republican hopeful Rick Santorum, who recently criticized Perry for saying gay marriage policies should be decided by states, is the other one. GOP presidential contender Herman Cain is also scheduled to make an appearance in Denver.

Frothy Mixture has in fact already leveled a withering broadside at Governor Prophet in his speech last night. Santorum's campaign is circling the drain, and he's probably done unless he makes a mark here and in Iowa in a couple of weeks.

More than 900 people who paid to attend the event will get to cast votes in the straw poll, with the results expected to be announced Sunday. All the announced major candidates will appear on the ballot, as will Perry and other possible candidates such as Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin and John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

So it's a full cattle call. But what about "Difficulty Breathing" Christie? And Pataki? I mean, if they're going to put John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani on there, why don't they just put Ronald Reagan on the "ballot" (.pdf) while they're at it?

Because this is a pay-to-play event for what appears to be evangelical Colorado Republicans, the TeaBag Factor is solid. Still I expect to see Jon Huntsman, as the closest thing to a favorite son, do better than he has yet shown. Then again, his recent criticism of Republicans on the issues of the environment and climate change might very well have finished him off.

I'll call the top four Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Huntsman. The headlines on Sunday in that case will be all about Goodhair besting Crazytown. And if Perry should come in first on the strength of a powerful keynote speech, he'll bask in media glory all the way to Monday.

And the Perry Train will be rolling.

Update: Derailed. But extra pepperoni for everyone in America!

Here is the order of finish:

Cain — 48 percent, 246 votes
Perry –13 percent, 67 votes
Santorum — 10 percent, 50 votes
Mitt Romney — 10 percent, 49 votes
Michele Bachmann — 9 percent, 44 votes
John Bolton — 4 percent, 20 votes
Ron Paul — 2 percent, 12 votes
Tim Pawlenty — 1 percent, 7 votes
Sarah Palin — 1 percent, 5 votes
Newt Gingrich — 1 percent, 3 votes
Thaddeus McCotter — 0 percent, 2 votes
Jon Huntsman — 0 percent, 1 vote
Gary Johnson — 0 percent, 1 vote
Paul Ryan -– 0 percent, 1 vote
Rudy Giuliani — 0 percent, 0 votes

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