One day after riveting a packed convention ballroom, tea party darling Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) topped the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, his second consecutive victory in the conservative confab's contest.
Paul won 31 percent of the vote (compared with the 25 percent he won last year), beating a crowded field of more than two dozen names, including a number of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders. He crushed second-place finisher Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who came in with 11 percent.
Rounding out of the top finishers in the poll, which was voted on by 2,459 CPAC attendees, were former neurosurgen Ben Carson (9 percent) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (8 percent).
CPAC has proven to be a friendly venue for Paul and was always kind to his father, former Texas congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian hero and three-time presidential candidate who won the CPAC straw poll in 2010 and 2011.
The survey may not be too significant. The presidential race is more than two years away, and only a small, segment of the right wing of the Republican Party attend CPAC and vote in the straw poll. But as Paul continues to position himself as the potential conservative savior of the GOP, his well-received address on Friday afternoon and his straw poll victory shows his strong influence on the libertarian and some conservative wings of the party.
Previous CPAC straw poll winners:
2013: Rand Paul
2012: Mitt Romney
2011: Ron Paul
2010: Ron Paul
2009: Mitt Romney
2008: Mitt Romney
2007: Mitt Romney
2006: George Allen