Denver – Georgia businessman Herman Cain did not really need confirmation of the connection he made with likely voters in the key battleground state of Colorado early Sunday morning.
Nevertheless, barely an hour after Cain had the enthusiastic attendees at Denver’s Western Conservative Summit standing on their feet, he received their full-throated support in the conference’s inaugural straw poll. Cain throttled his competition, earning 246 of the 508 votes (48 percent). Trailing significantly was the runner-up, Texas governor Rick Perry, who squeaked out 13 percent. Perry and Rick Santorum, who both spoke Friday evening, managed less than half of Cain’s haul combined
“Didn’t I tell you the people are going to select the next president of the United States?” Cain said to a standing ovation following the announcement of the straw-poll results. “We’re not done yet.”
There was no Paul-esque ballot stuffing (Congressman Ron Paul earned just 2 percent of the vote), nor a phalanx of campaign operatives flooding the convention hall. Cain relied on last-minute, locally recruited volunteers to help him at his book signing.
Cain’s winning brew of biographical anecdotes and rhetorical red meat appeared to do just the trick for the largely undecided and mixed crowd of social conservatives, stalwart Republican voters, and members from the local grassroots liberty movement.
Cain, like others who spoke over the weekend, believed that the real crisis underlying the nation’s problems comes directly from the current administration.
“We have a deficiency of leadership crisis in the White House,” Cain argued.
Cain held forth on a variety of economic solutions including eliminating the capital-gains tax. “Uncertainty is killing this economy,” Cain said.
Other proposals included a “regulatory reduction commission” designed to cut red tape in the private sector.
Cain’s appearance marked his second visit to Denver since March.