CPAC comes to a close, Rep. Ron Paul wins straw poll

February 13, 2011

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul

The 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which drew thousands of conservative activists to Washington, D.C. over the past three days, has wrapped up. Although the Iowa caucuses will be the first state test of the nominating fight about a year from now, most of the GOP’s presidential prospects tried to impress as many of the nation’s most active conservatives as they could during the conference.

The conference is sponsored by the American Conservative Union. It dates to 1973, when then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan was the featured speaker to an audience of about 125.

CPAC has grown substantially in numbers since 1973, and become a place where economic and social conservatives come together in search of common ground, as key constituencies in the Republican Party. Nearly 10,000 Republican strategists, vendors and activists from around the country were in attendance.

Familiar Republicans spoke at the conference, including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Hampshire Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Herman Cain, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune. Iowa Rep. Steve King also played a visible part in the conference, speaking to the general audience and serving as a participant in forums on immigration and tax policy.

After former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson supporters suggested he was snubbed at CPAC for supporting gay rights and marijuana legalization, Johnson scored a last-minute speaking invitation.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee did not attend CPAC due to scheduling conflicts.

A key feature of the conference is the Presidential Straw Poll, which this year included the names of 15 Republicans. Winning the greatest number of votes was U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, he garnered 30 percent. Paul finished ahead of Mitt Romney getting 23 percent, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christi and Gary Johnson each receiving 6 percent.

The Texas congressman, a libertarian-thinking Republican, earned an ardent following in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries.

While straw polls don’t always match up with results of presidential primaries, they do take the political temperature of those who participate. Paul’s message of smaller government apparently resonated with conference-goers, as their number one issue, according to the poll results, was the size and role of government. In the January 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses, Mike Huckabee received the greatest number of delegates, followed by Mitt Romney, John McCain and Ron Paul.


Gary Johnson places first in RLC straw poll and third in CPAC poll

February 13, 2011

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson took first place in the presidential straw poll conducted at the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) national convention Feb. 12, held in Arlington, VA.  Ron Paul came in second and Newt Gingrich third.

The Republican Liberty Caucus is “the small government, liberty-loving wing of the Republican Party.”

Johnson also came in third at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held this week in Washington, D.C., trailing winner Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. 

After decades of growing federal spending, Johnson believes in fixing government spending, deficit reduction and limiting the role of government, a sentiment made popular during the November election and apparently carrying forward with CPAC and RLC attendees.

Johnson also raises eyebrows wherever he goes because of his controversial advocacy for the legalization of marijuana.

Johnson was last in Iowa Feb. 10, where he visited with potential caucus-goers at an Ames coffee shop, as part of the Our America Initiative, a 501(c)4 political action committee.


Huckabee in Iowa Feb. 27-28 promoting new book

February 13, 2011

Huckabee will be making stops in six Iowa cities on Feb. 27-28, 2011, promoting his book, “A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don’t),” including Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City and Waterloo.

The stop in Dubuque will be at Borders, 555 Kennedy Road, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27.


New York listeners follow Iowa voters and presidential issues

February 13, 2011

On Feb. 7, one year from the 2012 Iowa Caucuses, WNYC announced that Joyce Russell, statehouse reporter for Iowa Public Radio, will join the station as It’s A Free Country launches a new collaboration with Iowa Public Radio to track voters and issues. WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York’s flagship public radio stations, broadcasting programs from National Public Radio and Public Radio International.

Iowa Public Radio includes WOI AM and FM at Iowa State University, WSUI-AM and KSUI-FM at the University of Iowa, and KUNI-FM and KHKE-FM at the University of Northern Iowa. The operations have combined revenues of about $7 million annually and about 60 employees.


Bush(es) on 2012 presidential ballot

February 12, 2011

None of the top GOP presidential contenders has officially filed as a candidate, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of Americans anxious to serve their country. A total of 85 individuals have filed their Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in 2012. See the “Candidates-Declared” section of this site for the complete listing.

The names you won’t find on the list are Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty or most anyone else whose name you’d recognize.

You will find some of the dark horse and unusual candidates previously featured on this website, like: Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey, a Republican from Florida; Randal Terry, the outspoken pro-life activist and founder of Operation Rescue; and self-proclaimed “King of the Birthers,” Andy Martin.

If you’re looking for a household name, how about Bush. Tanner Cline McCumber Bush and Savannah Jewel McCumber Bush included on their filings a claim to being the “legal son” and “legal daughter” of John “Jeb” Bush, former governor of Florida. Handwritten in the margins of their documents is a statement that they have been filed by “Laura Jane McCumber Bush,” the “legal wife of Jeb Bush due to the worlds largest terrorists organization plotting our assassination.” Laura Jane McCumber filed her own Statement of Candidacy last June. The McCumbers live in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Laura Jane McCumber’s Myspace page may lend a clue to the credibility and legitimacy of their candidacies and claims. The outrageous allegations and rantings on the site are a clear indication of someone detached from reality. My guess is that Martha Stewart is not planning Savannah’s wedding, the boxes delivered to her house are not part of a government sting operation, and no one is casting spells on her.


Potential GOP candidates shy away from presidential debates and Iowa caucus

February 1, 2011

Persons on the GOP candidates-to-watch list have yet to officially announce their candidacy for the 2012 presidential election; all indications are they don’t intend to until this spring or summer. At least one potential contender has said he has no plans to participate in the spring debates and another may be shying away from the Iowa caucus.

Politico and NBC News announced plans, in conjunction with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, to host the first debate on May 2. Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party are also organizing a debate at the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C., on May 5.

The Ames Straw Poll will be held Aug. 13, 2011, and Iowa caucuses Feb. 6, 2012.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told an audience last week he has no plans to participate in a series spring debates.

I don’t want to get suckered into taking on the schedule because it’s what the media wants us to do,” Huckabee told a group at The King’s College in New York City, according to the Christian Post. “You want to schedule a debate for March or May, knock yourselves out. If I’m not there, you can still have it. But I’m not going to be there.”

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels have both said they won’t announce plans until their legislative sessions wrap up later this spring.

Front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, may be taking a different strategy this go-around as well. According to a report by National Journal’s Reid Wilson, Romney’s team has spoken with consultants about the prospect of skipping the Iowa caucus and launching a campaign from New Hampshire. Romney spent a large share of funding in Iowa in 2008, only to finish behind Huckabee.

But could Romney or anyone else afford to skip Iowa? In modern presidential campaigns there has been no way to survive the winnowing effect if a candidate elects not to participate in either of the first two states; case in point John McCain in the 2000 election. Another example – Al Gore who bypassed both Iowa and New Hampshire to focus on the Southern states in 1988.


South Carolina nurse declares intent

January 31, 2011

Photo of Michael Adkins

Michael T. Adkins

Michael T. Adkins, a York County, South Carolina, Republican, says he’s tired of the way things are going in Washington and he plans to do something about it. Last week he declared his candidacy for President of the United States in 2012 and launched a campaign website expressing his political views. Adkins says the way things are going his children will not have the same opportunities he’s had. He says his run is not a publicity stunt and hopes to make a real change.

He told local NewsChannel 36, “We need someone who understands what it is like to have a mortgage, to have kids, and to have a paycheck that shrinks.”

Adkins is a nurse at a local community hospital and the father of two young children. He said, “I want my kids to be able to at least dream of the future I dreamed of as a child.”

Adkins admits he doesn’t know how he will raise funds for the campaign; the 2012 filing fee is yet to be determined, but it took $35,000 for candidates to be on the South Carolina GOP presidential ballot in 2008. “It is a very difficult thing,” Adkins said. “But I am in this to win this.”