Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won the Values Voter Summit straw poll Saturday, the second consecutive year he’s been the favorite of the conservative conference.
Cruz, a possible presidential candidate in 2016, wowed the audience Friday with a speech branding the Democratic party as radical and extreme. His speech was enthusiastically received, as he discussed religious and moral values and told his family’s own story of finding faith.
While several potential Republican candidates did not appear at the conference, Cruz’s win illustrates his appeal before an important Republican voting bloc.
Cruz won with 25 percent of the 901 votes cast. Second in Saturday’s poll was neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 20 percent. Carson supporters manned a table in the exhibit hall, passing out bumper stickers and buttons. Third was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 12 percent.
Trailing were former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, with 9.6 percent, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, each with 7 percent. All addressed the summit.
Carson was the first choice for vice president, at 22 percent, followed by Cruz at 14 percent.
The three-day conference ends Sunday. A primary sponsor is the Family Research Council’s legislative arm, which stresses its support for morally conservative stances on issues such as traditional marriage and opposition to abortion.
Those who attended the conference " are looking for leaders who will take clear, unequivocal stands on the challenges facing our nation, not nuanced politically correct speeches. This is evidenced by those who finished at the top of this year's straw poll,” said Family Research Council Action president Tony Perkins.