US Republican Paul wins straw poll

Supporters of Republican presidential
candidate US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas
© AFP/Getty Images/File Justin Sullivan

AFP

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – Republican Representative Ron Paul won a presidential straw poll on Saturday at a major gathering of party activists debating who should take on President Barack Obama in November 2012.

The result was largely a symbolic victory for the libertarian-oriented Paul, and was seen as unlikely to shape whom the party will ultimately pick as their candidate for the White House in a nominating convention more than a year away.

Paul, who says the United States must not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, won the contest with 612 votes, while former US ambassador to China Jon Huntsman came in a surprise second with 382 votes.

The frontrunner for the nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, got 74 votes, while former vice presidential candidate and conservative superstar Sarah Palin got 41.

When Paul’s victory was announced, many of the Republican Leadership Conference delegates packed in a hotel ballroom in New Orleans began to boo loudly.

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