BANGOR, Maine – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Saturday won an unofficial straw poll to be the 2016 GOP presidential nominee at the Penobscot County Republican caucus at Husson University.
Administered by the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus, caucus attendees paid $1 for a ballot that listed 20 potential GOP presidential candidates’ names plus room for write-ins, according to Maine RLC State Chair Vic Berardelli. Balloters were asked to mark their first, second and third choice. Points were weighted at five points for a first place vote, three points for second and one point for a third place vote.
Cruz led the field with an aggregate 107 points followed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 31 points, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota with 28 points, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee Utah with 18 points and Gov. Paul LePage with 15 points.
“Obviously this is not a scientific official poll,” Berardelli, who represents Penobscot County on the state GOP committee, said in a press release. “It was strictly for fun, but it gives a good snapshot-in-time of the thinking from across the ideological spectrum, and it shows that grassroots Republicans are tired of the stale establishment choices and seek fresh faces who deliver a message.”
Others who received votes, in descending order of their point tallies, were: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin; Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of California; Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana; Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; Dr. Ben Caron of Maryland; Gov. Rick Perry of Texas; and former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.
The poll will be offered by the Maine RLC at other caucuses around the state this month and at the state Convention in April 25-27 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, according to Berardelli.
The Republican Liberty Caucus is the nation’s oldest organization of Liberty Republicans, founded in 1991. Its members include elected officials, party committee members and grassroots activists committed to working within the Republican Party to bring about increased liberty, smaller government and lower taxes. Maine RLC is a chartered chapter of the national organization.