Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul came out on top in an Ohio straw poll on Saturday. The result surprised many, as Paul garnered more than twice the percentage of votes for Herman Cain and six times the percentage of votes for Mitt Romney, the two Republican front-runners.
Ohio Republicans had to pay $25 to participate in the vote, and only 428 votes were cast. For context, 2,657 Republicans cast ballots to propel Herman Cain to a shocking victory in a Florida straw poll last month. And in the Ames Iowa straw poll in August, Michele Bachmann won with more than 4,000 votes cast for her alone.
Still, the results give Paul his first major coup in a critical swing state in next year's presidential election. No Republican candidate has ever won the White House without also winning Ohio.
Paul took 53.5 percent of the votes, crushing Cain (25.5 percent) and Romney (8.9 percent).
Paul's campaign has not yet offered a statement or any reaction to the straw poll victory, but it did post the poll's results on the campaign's official Facebook page.
It looks as though the presidential race will be all about Ohio, probably Central Ohio in particular, Franklin County Republican Executive Committee Chair Doug Preisse told reporters on Saturday.
As the results were announced and it became clear Paul had won the straw poll -- he was the only name to be announced -- the cheers began. They only grew louder upon the declaration of victory.
The Paul campaign has been building momentum over the past month. His grassroots support has placed him third in Republican fundraising, despite holding a single-digit percentage in the latest national average of polls.
This week, Paul announced a major advertising campaign, saying he would spend more than $2 million in the next four weeks.
And last Monday, Paul introduced a Plan to Restore America, which includes $1 trillion in federal-government spending cuts in the first year of Paul's presidency. It also reduces the president's salary from $400,000 to $39,336, approximately the median personal income of the American worker, according to Paul's Web site.
But will the campaign's gaining steam close the poll gap? Despite the Ohio victory, Paul still trails Romney, Cain, Texas governor Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich in the latest national average of The Associated Press, CNN and Rasmussen polls.
Below is video of one of Paul's new ads. Can you spot the fake eyebrow?