Ron Paul Wins CPAC, Loses YAF

Ron Paul has won the CPAC straw poll for a second straight year. But YAF has voted him off its board over his opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As expected, Ron Paul has again won the CPAC straw poll.

For the second year in a row, Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, earning 30 percent of the vote.
The Texas congressman, known for his libertarian views, ran for president in 2008 but was never a serious contender for the GOP nomination.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 GOP candidate who is expected to run again, came in second place with 23 percent of the vote. Romney won the previous three presidential straw polls before Paul snapped his streak last year.

Many convention-goers booed when the results were announced but the Paul supporters drowned them out with chants of “Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Ron Paul!”

Paul’s consecutive victories in the straw poll have frustrated many GOP faithful who would rather see a more credible contender win. A CPAC official told Fox News that the big story is not Paul winning again but rather the strength of Romney’s second-place finish.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in a distant third with 6 percent of the vote, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 5 percent. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels all received 4 percent. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got 3 percent. Businessman Herman Cain, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and South Dakota Sen. John Thune earned 2 percent. Former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour finished with 1 percent.

But another conservative organization dominated by college students has voted Paul off the island.

The Young Americans for Freedom has voted the Texas congressman off its national advisory board in the aftermath of his straw poll win at CPAC over his positions on national security issues.

“It’s a sad day in American history when a one-time conservative/libertarian stalwart has fallen more out of touch with America’s needs for national security then our current socialist presidential regime,” said the group’s national director Jordan Marks. The dispute between Paul and the the group seems to stem from Paul’s anti-war activities and the prominence of his supporters at conservative events like CPAC. “Rep. Paul is clearly off his meds and must be purged from public office. YAF is starting the process by removing him from our national advisory board. Good riddance and he won’t be missed,” added Marks.

“I hadn’t heard of YAF doing anything in years, I thought they were defunct. Young Americans for Liberty is the group of the future,” said Ron Paul’s political director (and in-law) Jesse Benton in an email to POLITICO.

Oh, snap.

I must admit that, while I find Paul to be on the nutty side and agree with Donald Trump that there’s zero chance Ron Paul will be elected president, it’s rather bizarre that his opposition to two unpopular wars would be the reason he’d be ousted from the board of a conservative youth organization.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Matt B says:

    James wrote:
    its bizarre that his opposition to two unpopular wars would be the reason he’d be ousted from the board of a conservative youth organization.

    Really? Given the average undergrad’s tendencies around subtly, it makes a lot of sense to me. It seems like the same reasons that it seems like lots of students go through that Ayn Rand period, and college liberals tend to embrace Che — simply put, you college republicans/conservatives beat the war drum harder than just about anyone I’ve encountered.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Paul has the support of Guys With Weird Facial Hair, but loses among Privileged Trust Fund Douchenozzles. That’s fascinating! But what of the Wheezing Racist Buffoons and the Angry Chickenhawks? Who are they backing? I love this GOP Kremlinology!

  3. sam says:

    You can bet they’d be plumping for his canonization if there were a draft still in effect (with no deferments).