In a major political surprise on Saturday, Florida Republican Herman Cain scored a victory in the state's GOP presidential straw poll 2011. After a rousing speech to delegates, he easily beat Rick Perry, who finished second.
Cain, former CEO of the Godfather's Pizza chain, claimed the upset win Saturday in the nonbinding Florida straw poll sponsored by the state's Republican party. Cain beat out seven other candidates, including Republican presidential candidate front-runner Perry, the Texas governor.
Cain is supported by less than 10 percent of Republicans in most national polls, and he's barely registered in some, yet on Saturday in Florida he got 37.1 percent of the vote from 2,657 delegates at the Republican Party of Florida's Presidency 5 conference in Orlando.
Perry, the Republican front-runner in most national polls, had been seen as the likely winner in the Florida straw poll. But even though he tops most national and Florida polls, Perry finished a distant second to Cain with 15.4 percent of the vote Saturday.
According to The Palm Beach Post, Cain delivered a rousing speech before the vote, urging delegates to ignore the nasty rumor that Herman Cain can't win and send Washington a message.
Delegates did just that, stunning Perry, who said before the straw poll vote that the vote held significance.
There are a number of folks whose campaigns have spurned this tradition of the Florida straw poll, and I think that's a big mistake. I think the Florida straw poll is very important, Perry said during a morning speech before the vote at a breakfast his campaign provided, according to The Post.
Perry was narrowly ahead of Mitt Romney, who finished third in the Florida straw poll with 14 percent of the vote. Romney did not compete in the Presidency 5 conference. Rick Santorum finished fourth, with 11 percent; Ron Paul was fifth with 10 percent; and Newt Gingrich was sixth with 8 percent.
Michele Bachmann, who won the Iowa straw poll weeks ago but has remained in single digits in most polls, finished last in the Florida straw poll with less than 2 percent of the vote. She also opted not to participate.
Also Jon Huntsman got 2 percent of the vote.