Ron Paul wins another local straw poll

PATRICK HICKERSON
AL.com
Sunday October 14, 2007

Ron Paul won the Jefferson County Republican Party’s presidential straw poll Saturday at the Birmingham Zoo, with supporters casting more than half of the votes collected.

Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, took about 57 percent of the vote with 115 ballots.

Voters paid $35 to cast the ballot and eat a barbecue lunch.

Fred Thompson, an Alabama native and former U.S. senator, came in second with 31 votes, followed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani with 18 votes and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 16.

Paul scored a similar victory in Tuscaloosa two months ago, when he took 81 percent of the vote at a straw vote sponsored by the West Alabama Republican Assembly, according to the Los Angeles Times. Many of those voters attended the Saturday event.

The straw poll success is a contrast to national polls, which project Paul’s support at less than 5 percent

The Jefferson County straw poll brought out area Republicans such as State Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, and Jefferson County Commissioner Bobby Humphryes.

From business suits with straw fedoras to T-shirts and blue jeans, Paul supporters came from all backgrounds.

Many started the day with a caravan of about 15 vehicles from Colonial Brookwood Village mall to the zoo.

Greg Buchanan, 35, of Crestwood, rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“He’s the only guy who really looks at the Constitution before he makes any decision,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said it’s typical to find Paul supporters coming from different backgrounds. “You see punk rockers standing next to World War II veterans.”

Shana Kluck, 33, grew up in Paul’s district an hour outside Houston before moving to Vance. She finds the candidate’s positions on withdrawing from Iraq and fiscal responsibility attracts liberals and conservatives.

David Beito, a University of Alabama history professor and Paul supporter, said it’s not uncommon to find Ron Paul bumper stickers on campus. He surveyed the straw poll scene and wondered about the other contenders and their campaigners.

“Where are they? Where’s the enthusiasm?” Beito said.

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