Sen. Ted Cruz topped fellow Texan Rick Perry and 12 other candidates in Saturday's Texas Republican Party straw poll.
Cruz, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, captured 43.4 percent of the support followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 12.2 percent and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul with 12.1 percent. Perry finished fourth with 11 percent and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was fifth with 3 percent, the Hill reported.
Cruz rallied delegates, asking Texans to help form a grassroots army "of men and women who say they will not go quietly into the night.”
“We want our freedom back,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted him as saying.
Perry tried to rally the crowd, declaring Republicans will win the White House in 2016.
“We’re too good a country to wander through the wilderness of economic darkness. We must seize our promise at home. We must establish our moral authority overseas," Perry said.
“We must live up to our promise again.”
Last week, Cruz also captured top honors at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans with 30 percent of the vote, followed by Carson with 29 percent, Paul with 10 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 5 percent. Perry, who will leave office in January, garnered only 4.9 percent.
The Texas poll was conducted June 4-7 among 5,266 convention-goers.
Texas never has had much of an impact choosing a presidential candidate because its primaries came so late in the presidential sweepstakes season. In 2016, however, the Lone Star State will be one of the first big states to cast ballots, the Star-Telegram said.