Herman Cain, former Atlanta talk radio host who was yet to return from a trip to Israel, won Georgia’s GOP straw poll Saturday with Rep. Ron Paul trailing by a thin margin.
Cain, who was unable to attend the poll held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds after traveling to Israel for former Fox News host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally, received 232, or 26 percent, votes, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Cain, former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, got just three votes more than runner-up Rep. Ron Paul from Texas, who got 229, or 25.7 percent, votes.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Macon.com reported Bertha Craig-Allen, a state district director for the Cain campaign, as saying. “He wanted to be here, but we are very, very excited to tell him the news when he gets back… Ron Paul has been a thorn in many a campaign’s side in the past. I’m not going to let that ruffle my feathers.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the national frontrunner, came in third with 179, or 20 percent, votes. Newt Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for nearly two decades and was the only candidate to address the crowd, finished fourth with 164, or 18 percent, votes. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished fifth with only 51, or six percent, votes.
Michele Bachmann, who won the more crucial Ames Straw Poll earlier this month, was handed a distant sixth with just 29, or three percent, votes. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum garnered only 4, or .4 percent, votes. Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, got 3, or .3 percent, votes.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Peach State’s straw poll had 890 votes cast, about one-eighteenth as many voters as Iowa’s straw poll.
Cain, the only Republican presidential candidate who attended Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel last week, did not react to his victory, with his Facebook page and Twitter still mentioning his Israel trip.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty pulled out from the presidential campaign after finishing third in the Ames poll. But Cain, who finished fifth, remained in the fray.