Herman Cain spent Monday morning relishing his startling Saturday victory in Florida’s GOP presidential straw poll, but stopped short of citing his 37 percent showing as a guarantee of future success.
Cain won 37.1 percent of more than 2,500 votes cast in the straw poll conducted at the tail end of a three-day convention of activists in Orlando. Conducted off-and-on since 1979, the winner of the Florida straw poll has gone on to win the Republican nomination.
“I think it means we have picked up some substantial momentum,” Cain said in an interview with Scott Slade on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB – where Cain once served as a night-time talk show host.
“I don’t think that the past is necessarily a predictor of the future, although I like the fact that this has been a trend over the years. But the political landscape has changed so much…that I don’t think that it guarantees anything – other than I and my team, we need to keep working hard,” Cain said.
The attention has given Cain a window to plug his economic plan: A shift in the U.S. tax code to a 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent personal income tax, and a 9-percent sales tax.
But the former pizza magnate gave himself credit for overcoming the media’s focus on other candidates. Cain said he drew two lessons from the vote: “No. 1, the voice of the people is more powerful than the voice media. And No. 2, message is more important than money.”
In fact, most national news outlets focused on the straw poll results as a setback for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
But Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, left the state early Friday for events in Indiana and Michigan, effectively telegraphing that his campaign did not place that much importance on the result.
Mr. Perry stayed in Florida through Saturday morning and hosted the breakfast for conference delegates. A win for Mr. Perry at the straw poll might have helped blunt criticism that has been building of his performance in Thursday night’s debate.
An issue that may have less impact in other early-state Republican primaries, immigration is a hot-button issue in Florida — and Perry’s botched attempt to explain his policies back home in Texas during Thursday’s Fox News debate has soured conservative activists here on him.
In interview after interview as they filed out of the Orange County Convention Center hall where votes were cast, delegates pointed to his support for a state-based version of the DREAM Act — which provides in-state tuition rates to some illegal immigrants — and his denouncement of those who disagree as lacking “a heart.”
Pointing to the fact that Michele Bachmann won the GOP presidential straw poll in Iowa, and immediately sank, has WP’s The Fix wondering if the Republican’s sharp rightward shift hasn’t rendered the informal votes useless as a predictor:
Straw polls in which only a few thousand people (at most) vote tend to reward candidates with the most loyal, not necessarily the largest, vote bases. The more attention a candidate lavishes on a straw poll, the more likely he or she is to win it. Only the most conservative portion of the Republican base shows up at these events, skewing the results to the most ideological candidate, not the most electable one.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s claim that we are in the worst jobs recovery since the Great Depression.
Given this Tweet from a NYT reporter on Saturday, Mitt Romney has conceded the LaGrange vote to Rick Perry, or maybe Herman Cain:
Romney says it’s good to be back in MI where you see “More Fords and Chevys and Dodges than you see Nissans and Kias and Toyotas”
State Rep. Martin Scott, R-Rossville, had already served notice that a call to the pulpit would prevent him from seeking re-election in 2012. The Chattanooga Free Press pointed out this weekend how religion has warped the man’s thinking:
“I just was not convinced of the fairness of the maps we voted for,” said [Scott]. “I thought more could be done to ensure the other side felt like they had fair access to mapmaking abilities and lawyers that we had.”
Scott was one of two Republicans to vote against the House legislative map, which was criticized widely by Democrats who said they weren’t given a fair chance to develop their own map until the last minute.
Scott had not returned messages asking about the mapmaking process during or after the session, but he returned one left last week.
On that same topic: Just before the weekend broke, Aaron Blake over at WP’s The Fix posted a list of the “10 most gerrymandered districts of 2011.” Georgia accounted for one-fifth of the total:
– Coming in at No. 9 was the 8th District of U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton:
While the GOP could have massaged the new districts to go after Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) in the southwest corner of the state, instead they moved Scott’s Macon Democrats into Bishop’s district and moved the freshman south into more conservative territory from the districts represented by Bishop and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R). Scott’s current district went 43 percent for Obama; his new one would have given the president just 33 percent.
– But U.S. Rep. John Barrow, R-Savannah, rated second place:
Republicans chopped off Barrow’s base (and home) in more liberal Savannah in the southeast part of Georgia’s 12th district and gave him more of the strongly Republican Augusta area to the northeast, completely reshaping the district and making Barrow a marked man. The 12th drops from a swing district that went 55 percent for Obama to one that would go about 40 percent for Obama.
The Augusta Chronicle provided this happy news on Sunday:
In 2004 and for the next two years, the indictment and conviction of three prominent politicians rocked the Augusta area. In a few years all three will be released from federal prisons.
Linda Schrenko, Robin Williams and Charles W. Walker Sr. should complete their prison sentences on Aug. 29, 2013, July 20, 2014, and Sept. 26, 2014, respectively — except Walker could be out earlier if his current appeal suceeds.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider