Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won the conference’s presidential preference straw poll, a symbolic victory that reflects his popularity among conservatives who typically hold outsized influence in the GOP’s presidential selection process.
Not really. Here’s a list of poll winners, and most of them never became the party nominee:
- Ronald Reagan (became nominee)
- Jack Kemp
- Phil Gramm
- Steve Forbes
- Gary Bauer
- George W Bush (became nominee)
- Rudy Giuliani
- George Allen
- Mitt Romney (lost nomination in 2008, won it in 2012)
- Ron Paul
- Rand Paul
Rand Paul is more politically acceptable than his father Ron Paul, and is a serious contender. But I wouldn’t call him the front runner.