Another political body blow to Texas Gov. Rick Perry who in terms of votes, at least, is shaping up to be the Fred Thompson of the race for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. A big loss in Michigan — not surprising since it’s a friendly state to Romney. But the size of Perry’s loss will raise eyebrows.
In a rout, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney trounced Rick Perry and the rest of the GOP field to win the National Journal Hotline/National Association of Home Builders Straw Poll of GOP activists attending a weekend conference in Michigan.
Romney received 51 percent of the 681 votes cast, a whopping 34-percentage point victory over second-place Perry, who garnered 17 percent. It was the second straight defeat for Perry in a straw poll, after he finished second in another contest Saturday in Florida. The twin disappointments, along with weak debate performances, have raised questions about whether the Texas governor will remain the perceived front-runner in the GOP nomination fight.
Romney grew up in suburban Detroit and in the Michigan governor’s mansion; his father, George Romney, served as the state’s chief executive from 1963 to 1969. Michigan is likely to hold its presidential nomination contest on Feb. 28, a week before Super Tuesday. It is also an important state in the general election contest….
Both Romney and Perry addressed the conference Saturday, and while Perry took subtle digs at his GOP rival, Romney denounced President Obama’s economic leadership. “I just don’t think he’s equipped for what’s happening,” the former Massachusetts governor said.
Third place in the Hotline straw poll went to former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who won the Florida poll Saturday. He received 9 percent of the votes among Michigan Republican activists.
Media coverage won’t help Perry’s image. You an see the emerging narrative now: He’s on the ropes.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he isn’t competing in any straw polls —not even the one this weekend on the island where he spent summers as a boy and where pictures of his father adorn the Grand Hotel and George Romney’s legacy as a popular governor hung over the proceedings.
To say Romney was the heavy favorite at the biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference would be an understatement. And he did not disappoint, winning the straw poll with 51 percent of the 681 votes cast. His top rival for the nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, finished second with 17 percent.
The AP also notes that the Romney win was no surprise and notes:
The win reinforces Romney’s favorite son status in the state that could make it tough for anyone else to win its GOP primary.
It was the second day of bad news for Perry, who lost to businessman Herman Cain in a Florida straw poll Saturday before heading to the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan.
The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol — who is openly pining for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race — is unimpressed with the two front-runners:
As the Republican presidential lineup takes shape, party elites are increasingly voicing a common theme: disappointment.
“These are very weak frontrunners,” Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard said today on Fox News.
Former Republican Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declared frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry “not prepared for the pressure of the presidential stage yet.”
Perry entered this weekend’s Florida straw poll heavily favored and with a Texas-sized swagger, saying, “It’s great to be in the state that picks presidents. That’s what Florida does.”
He left humiliated and humbled — a distant second to Herman Caine, the man from Godfather’s Pizza, who netted 37 percent to Perry’s 15 percent.
That followed Perry’s stumbling debate performance and the hammering rivals gave him over his policy of allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Texas public colleges.
“There may be slicker candidates and there may be smoother debaters but I know what I believe in, and I’m going to stand on that belief every day,” Perry said. ‘I will guide this country with a deep deep rudder.”
Perry’s problem is that if some things don’t change, a rudden won’t help a sinking candidacy.