RLC Presidential Straw Poll: Who won?

RLC Cruz Paul

By The Iowa Statesman


Morning Dump LogoThe mail bin fills up the most over the weekend, especially during presidential campaign season. We read through them all — as we do every day — and present you with the information from the press releases that most pertinent to you.

Short disclaimer: not all candidates send out press releases to us, so if your favorite isn’t showing up here, don’t get mad at us. We have told them all that we’d be more than happy to publish their releases.

The weekend press releases mostly pertained to activity outside of Iowa, but two emails in particular piqued our interest. That’s mainly because two different candidates were claiming victory at the same straw poll event.

So, let’s rifle through today’s Morning Dump …


Rand Paul? Ted Cruz? Who won the RLC Straw Poll?

Republican presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz each set out press releases Saturday claiming to have won the Republican Liberty Caucus National Convention’s presidential straw poll. We’ll leave it up to the reader to decide which definition of “victory” you’re going to use.

From Team Paul:

Earlier tonight, Sen. Rand Paul won the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) National Convention biennial presidential straw poll. Prior to the straw poll results, Sen. Paul gave a fiery keynote address and criticized the government’s out-of-control spending. The overflow crowd gave a standing ovation and the senator departed the stage to chants of ‘President Paul!’

Fellow Republican candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) spent a substantial amount of time, money, and resources to actively sway voters at the RLC Convention, yet the liberty movement continues to unite behind Rand Paul. Unlike Sen. Cruz, Rand Paul has consistently voted against raising spending and is the only candidate fighting to protect the entire Bill of Rights. 

Sen. Paul’s win comes just a few weeks after placing first in the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference (MRLC) straw poll, one of the largest pre-caucus or primary poll of the presidential cycle. Sen. Paul’s repeated straw poll wins prove that liberty activists are gravitating to his principled message of protecting the entire Bill of Rights, reining in spending to balance the budget and stripping the power from the Washington Machine by returning power back to the people.

The top straw poll results can be found below:

Rand Paul: 445
Ted Cruz: 399
Ben Carson: 139
Carly Fiorina: 79

“My message of expanding personal liberty and shrinking the overzealous federal government is resonating from coast to coast. Liberty unites people, and I am honored to win the Republican Liberty Caucus straw poll,” Sen. Paul said. “I will continue to represent the Liberty wing of the Republican party by campaigning on bold, conservative principles like balancing the budget, restraining the powers of the federal government, and passing term limits to get rid of the career politicians in both parties.”

And, then, from Team Cruz:

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz continues to shore up his strong support among libertarian voters, earning 51 percent support from voters participating in the straw poll held at the Republican Liberty Caucus in Nashua, NH over the weekend.

Cruz received 399 votes (51%), just a few points behind Rand Paul’s 445 votes (57%).

“We are very encouraged by the growing support we are seeing among liberty voters in the early states and across the country,” Cruz said. “I have spent my career defending the constitutional liberties that our nation was founded upon, and that are increasingly under assault today. From free speech and religious liberty to our right to bear arms and our right to privacy, I have been proud to lead on all these issues, whether before the Supreme Court or in the Senate. If I’m elected president, libertarian voters across the country can be confident that I will continue to stand for the U.S. Constitution at every turn.”

Sen. Cruz’s strong performance in the straw poll comes at the heels of a growing coalition of libertarian voters organizing in the early states and across the country for the Cruz for President campaign. The campaign’s Liberty Leaders coalition is chaired by former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr (the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee), with 25 former Ron Paul organizers and supporters leading efforts in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Sen. Cruz continues to expand his base among Tea Party, evangelical, and libertarian voters. He has won multiple recent straw polls demonstrating his deep base of support across the spectrum of Republican voters, including decisive victories in both the Freedom Works and the Values Voters straw polls.

* Note: We’ve redacted the part where the Cruz campaign actually listed all the people, individually, that it mentioned above.

We think perhaps Inigo Montoya might have something to say to Team Cruz, but only after Archimedes b-slaps them upside the head for their arithmetic. But, as one might have gathered, the dueling emails set off a firestorm within the Liberty Wing of the GOP as former Ron Paul supporters who have stuck with his son for 2016 attacked those who are now running in the Cruz Crew.

We’ll find out who really wins — when it actually matters — in February.


Huckabee visits U.S.-Mexican border in San Diego

Former Arkansas Governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visited the U.S.-Mexico border visit near San Diego today. The Governor was accompanied by former Congressman and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Duncan Hunter and National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) officials.

(San Diego Union Tribune photo)

(San Diego Union Tribune photo)

Following the tour, Governor Huckabee held a press conference with the media.  Here are some of his statements:

“As President, I would secure the border – and we would build a fence within the first year.”

“We would deploy the Secretary of Homeland Security and his family to Laredo, Texas and tell him he’s not coming home until the border is secure.”

“We must build a fence along the entire Mexican border, designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, end Obama’s ‘catch and release’ policy, and repeal Obama’s unconstitutional immigration executive orders.”

“Fences work. This double border fence on the San Diego-Tijuana corridor has reduced illegal immigration by 95%.”

“The success of the border fence has saved money and allowed border patrol redeploy agents to Texas.”

“In 20 years since the fence has been built, San Diego illegal apprehensions have dropped from 480,000 to 30,000 per year.”


Grassley, Ernst respond to court opinion on WOTUS

Both of Iowa’s senators put out press releases to express their happiness over the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule must be suspended. First from Ernst:

Waters of the USToday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, ruled to suspend implementation of the final “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule nationwide, stating among other things, that defendants of the rule have not “…identified specific scientific support substantiating the reasonableness” of certain parts of this rule.  By issuing a “stay” (a suspended implementation of the rule for a period of time), Iowa – and the rest of the nation – are granted a reprieve from this ill-conceived and harmful rule. Upon this ruling, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) released the following statement:


“Today’s ruling sends a strong message to the EPA that it has for too long ignored the voice and legitimate concerns raised by those directly impacted by the expanded definition of WOTUS and mounting overregulation on hardworking Americans.

“The EPA continues to act as an unchecked federal agency of the Obama Administration, expanding its power over Iowa farms, small businesses, ranchers, and other landowners in our rural communities.

“It is abundantly clear that this ill-conceived rule breeds uncertainty and confusion, while adding more red tape that threatens the livelihoods of many in Iowa and across the country.

“That is why I recently introduced a resolution, along with 49 of my Senate colleagues, to scrap this rule and send a message to the EPA that they failed to address the concerns raised by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses in Iowa and across the country. 

“I remain steadfast in my commitment to see this rule scrapped for good and not just on pause. It’s time President Obama’s EPA take into account the commonsense voice of hardworking Iowans who know what this rule means for them and their families.”

And, from Grassley:

Senator Chuck Grassley made the following statement after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide stay against the enforcement of the controversial Waters of the U.S. regulation. 

Grassley is a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill in the Senate to require that the Waters of the United States rule be completely revised with stakeholder input.  He also is a cosponsor of legislation that would clearly define the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction in the law rather than leaving it to the EPA.  In addition, both the Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations committees have passed bills that deny funding for the EPA to carry out this rule.  In addition, Grassley cosponsored a resolution of disapproval of the Waters of the U.S. rule. 

Here is Grassley’s comment.

“This is great news.  Previous court cases have led to uncertainty about the scope of EPA’s authority, but the only certainty in this rule is that this power grab would have granted the EPA untold amount of authority.  Considering the indifferent attitude that the EPA took toward agriculture in crafting this rule, Iowans had every reason to be concerned about the impact the rule could have on the state’s economy.  As written, the rule could result in significant red tape and expense for Iowa farmers as they make routine decisions about how best to use their land, even ironically hampering projects to improve water quality.”


Huckabee responds to Obama’s trip to Oregon

Former Arkansas Governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee released the following statement in response to President Obama’s visit to Roseburg, Oregon today:

(Prezography photo)

(Prezography photo)

“In the past two years, there have been 500 murders and more than 5,000 shooting victims in Chicago, where bullets spray like summertime sprinklers. President Obama should use the White House pulpit to confront the sin and culture of violence that glorifies death and destruction.

“But instead of going to Chicago to address the real issue, Obama travels to Oregon to politicize last week’s community college shooting and demand ineffective backwards gun-control policies that empower criminals and terrorists at the expense of law-abiding citizens.

“When it comes to advancing his liberal agenda, President Obama will exploit anything, even death and suffering. If existing gun laws did not prevent the Oregon massacre, there’s no reason to believe more restrictive laws will. Prohibitions, bans, registrations, confiscations, and mandates-Chicago has it all. And what has it accomplished to make the streets safer? Absolutely nothing.”

Early today, Huckabee published a FoxNews.com editorial, which criticized the President for politicizing the Oregon shooting. To read the full editorial, “Why is Obama more eager to politicize victims in Oregon than reduce violence in America?” click here.