In a performance worthy of Groundhog Day, Rand Paul won the CPAC straw poll on Saturday for the third time. The libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator, who had previously won the poll in 2013 and 2014, claimed 25.7 percent of the vote. His father, former Rep. Ron Paul, won it twice (in 2010 and 2011). Thus, Rand makes history as the winningest Paul in the CPAC straw poll’s storied existence.
But hold on to your turtlenecks; this doesn’t necessarily mean that he gets to be president. Former winners include George Allen, Gary Bauer, Phil Gramm, and other noncommanders-in-chief. But it certainly doesn’t hurt Paul’s prospects in the 2016 GOP nominating race.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s second-place finish, 4 points behind the tousley-locked senator, is probably a bigger deal than Paul’s win. Paul was kind of a shoo-in, and Walker’s silver medal shows that the CPAC audience wasn’t quite as perturbed as the national political media over his unfortunate juxtaposition of Wisconsin pro-union protesters and ISIS.
Sen. Ted Cruz tailed in a distant third with 11.5 percent, 10 points behind Walker and just one-tenth of a point ahead of Tocqueville-quote–fabricator Ben Carson. The results have to be even more disappointing for Mike Huckabee, who quit his Fox News show to make noise about running for president and only got 0.3 percent of the vote, and for Chris Christie, who got just 2.8 percent and lagged behind Donald Trump. Jeb Bush had a stronger showing with a fifth place finish at 8.3 percent, likely due in part to the fact that his backers bused in supporters from K Street and Georgetown and got them day passes to watch his speech.