Republican Santorum wins South Carolina straw poll

COLUMBIA, South Carolina Sat May 7, 2011 1:31pm EDT

Former U.S. Senator and likely Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation's ''Presidential Summit on Spending and Job Creation'' in Manchester, New Hampshire April 29, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Former U.S. Senator and likely Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation's ''Presidential Summit on Spending and Job Creation'' in Manchester, New Hampshire April 29, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Reuters) - Republican Rick Santorum got credit for showing up and won a 2012 presidential straw poll of party activists in the crucial early voting state of South Carolina, organizers said on Saturday.

Santorum, a conservative from Pennsylvania, was the only presidential candidate to attend the South Carolina party's annual dinner on Friday night. He won 150 out of 408 votes cast in the presidential preference poll of dinner attendees.

That trounced second-place finisher Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who received 61 votes. In third place was former pizza executive Herman Cain with 44 votes.

Three others finished with more than 20 votes -- real estate tycoon Donald Trump with 29, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has repeatedly said he will not run, with 22 and U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann with 22.

Many South Carolina Republicans were annoyed that the party's highest profile candidates skipped the first 2012 Republican presidential debate they sponsored on Thursday. It was attended by five lesser known candidates.

Those five -- Santorum, Cain, U.S. Representative Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson -- were invited to speak at the dinner, but only Santorum showed up.

"To those who didn't come, you get a pass this time but you sure as hell better come next time," Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said at the dinner.

Votes in the poll were cast for a total of 16 different potential candidates in a slow-starting and unsettled Republican nominating race that has not produced a clear front-runner.

The other candidates to register in double-digits in the poll were former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 16 and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels with 15.

Others who tallied single-digit totals included Paul with 8, Pawlenty with 7, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin with 6 and former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsmann with 4.

(Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Chris Wilson)

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Comments (7)
JamesAquinas wrote:
On April 2006, Romney signed Romneycare into law.

On Feb 2, 2008, Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

Rick said:
“In a few short days, Republicans from across this country will decide more than their party’s nominee. They will decide the very future of our party and the conservative coalition that Ronald Reagan built. Conservatives can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines in this election, and Governor Romney is the candidate who will stand up for the conservative principles that we hold dear.

Governor Romney has a deep understanding of the important issues confronting our country today, and he is the clear conservative candidate that can go into the general election with a united Republican Party.”

Hear that conviction This was 2 years after Romneycare was passed and implemented in MA.

Here’s another one. Laura Ingram and Rick Santorum endorse Mitt Romney together over public Radio.

May 07, 2011 2:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BRO47 wrote:
I am a conservative and would not vote for Santorum. He appears to be the establishment republican candidate, old school. Republicans need a fresh voice who can defeat Obama. Caine sounds interesting

May 07, 2011 6:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
seattlesh wrote:
I don’t think that the Republican’s have a candidate that could defeat Richard Nixon.

May 07, 2011 11:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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