Herman Cain -- not Rick Perry -- won the Florida GOP straw poll Saturday. Mitt Romney came in third, but he did not formally take part in the non-binding poll. What does this mean for the Republican front-runners in the 2012 presidential race?
If the party of Lincoln does not crown the next President of the United States in 2012, it will leave lasting memories of turbulent campaigns.
The media is so obsessed with Texas Governor Rick Perry, that he is all but a shoe-in for the GOP nomination to challenge incumbent president Barack Obama. But Florida, a critical state in any race for president, went in a different direction by not putting too much stake in governor Perry, according to Reuters.
Of the 2,657 votes cast in the Republican Straw poll on Saturday, Herman Cain earned 37%, while Rick Perry and Mitt Romney earned 15% and 14%, respectively. How does a former pizza executive, largely obscure up to this point, prevail over the tough-talking Texan and the former GOP front-runner?
Perhaps the people of Florida, a diverse mix of voters, understand that it takes more than political rhetoric about the Lone Star State, and health care measures enacted in Massachusetts to earn their trust.
"It's more of what happened to Mitt Romney. He's not going to be crowned president of the United States. He's going to have to work for it. And after five and a half years he once again got rejected in a key state in the Republican primary process," said Perry's campaign spokesperson, Mark Miner.
To his point, Herman Cain's victory today sent a ripple in Mitt Romney's camp. The former Mass. governor has the largest campaign chest, is a veteran among the field of candidates, and had a grasp on the GOP nomination until Perry came along. It's unknown what the loss meant to his candidacy.
And while Herman Cain is content on taking a win by any means necessary, he is far behind Perry and Romney in national polls. Besides, straw polls are only a test, but not the true test. Recall Michele Bachmann's earlier victory in Iowa's straw poll? After she upset the other field of candidates, her campaign slowed to a crawl in later debates.
But dont' count out Cain just yet. Here's something to consider:
Since 1979, the winner of the Florida straw poll has gone on to win the Republican nomination. Does this signal the beginning of a shift to Conservative pragmatism?