The significance of the Minnesota GOP straw poll

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
In a straw poll taken at the party’s meeting of its central committee over the weekend, 32 percent of the group cast their vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Minnesota’s most ardent Republican activists have shown a preference for the most conservative Republican candidate for president.

In a straw poll taken at the party’s meeting of its central committee over the weekend, 32 percent of the group cast their vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, followed by 16 percent for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and 11.7 percent for Carly Fiorina.

The 283 delegates who voted are a fraction of the people expected to show up for the Republican caucuses on March 1, of course, and represent the most conservative wing of the party. (At the same gathering in 2012, the straw poll favored Rick Santorum, who gathered less than one percent support this year.)

More than just offering a snapshot of delegates’ preferences at this early date, though, the poll tells campaigns how active to make their Minnesota operations.

For the Cruz campaign, it’s obvious. “The next stage is drilling down into every single senate district and BPOU [basic political operating units, the smallest organizational units in the party] and making sure we are organized,” said Brandon Lerch, Minnesota director for the Cruz campaign.

For the remaining campaigns, the weekend vote gives them a start value. Like national preference polling, it will help decide whether a candidate still has a shot, or has settled so far down in the pecking order that the campaign goes into suspension.

Among other things, the straw poll also demonstrated party activists’ tendency to buck trends. Frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson earned 10 percent and eight percent of the vote.

Rand Paul, whose father Ron Paul ultimately carried the Minnesota delegation’s votes to the 2012 Republican National Convention, won 10 percent of the vote. Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Mick Huckabee barely made a dent, each gathering just over or under one percent of the vote of the delegates. 

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/07/2015 - 01:03 pm.

    Isn’t he the guy…

    Who says we know the vast majority of violent criminals in the US are democrats, and that the Colorado shooter was a transgender leftist activist? Do MN republicans really think that a guy who makes stuff up is the guy they want in the White House? Didn’t we get enough of that with Bush/Cheney?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/07/2015 - 01:30 pm.

      A Guy Who Makes Stuff Up

      That has been the requirement for Republican presidential candidates since 1980.

      Except, perhaps, for the first President Bush, and look at the way they turned on him.

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 12/08/2015 - 03:34 pm.

      Have you seen the alternatives?

      It’s not whether they make up crazy crud, but who makes up the best crazy crud. If you want the non-crazy crud candidate, wrong party.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 12/08/2015 - 09:03 am.

    Yes!! And No!!

    Yes, they DO want a guy who makes stuff up. Considerations of reality do not favor the Republicans at this time.

    No, they have not had enough of the philosophy and value system of Dick Cheney. They would double down if they could.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/08/2015 - 12:01 pm.

    If I had a chance…

    Ms. Brucato has been around for a long time, and as far as I know she’s an intelligent, knowledgeable, and responsible person from an era when such qualities were appreciated among the ranks of republicans. Although I’m frequently critical, I respect her and appreciate her service and voice. Seriously, if had a chance I’d really like to know whether or not this election cycle and it’s republican candidates is simply embarrassing? I like think people like Brucato are embarrassed because that would yield some hope that this party could eventually pull back from the brink of oblivion and make constructive contributions to our political discourse someday.

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