Ted Cruz Way Out In Front Of Rubio, Ryan In Values Voter Straw Poll

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WASHINGTON – (NewsBlaze) Delegates to the 8th Annual Values Voter summit were undaunted by yesterday’s spectacle of hecklers interrupting Ted Cruz’s speech, and they chose him in the event’s prospective 2016 Presidential straw poll, with 42% of the vote. The vote was based on 762 votes of the 2200 delegates to the summit.

In a news conference with members of the media, after the public release of the votes late Saturday afternoon, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins noted “My take is that Republican voters are looking for leaders to challenge the establishment.”

Reaction to the vote before the news conference in some quarters of the media was similar to that of Matt Boyle of Breitbart News who told Newsblaze “No surprise that Ted Cruz finished first. Where does everyone else place? That’s the story.”

The story that Boyle described is that after Cruz, there was a tie for second place, former Johns Hopkins Pediatric Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, both a long way back, with 13% each. They were followed by Rand Paul at 6%, and Marco Rubio at 5%. Paul Ryan suffered the biggest drop at 4%, but perhaps it was not surprising, because he only appeared to the delegates via video.

Following the vote, Perkins called Ted Cruz by phone, following a tradition that his organization lets the winners know where they stand after the poll each year. Perkins said that in his opinion, Cruz “represents the families impacted by Obamacare,” and that he was “surprised just how deep” the vote was for Cruz. On receiving the call, Cruz said he “was very excited to hear the results.”

Newsblaze posed the question to Perkins about far along Values Voters were in creating their own political establishment as an alternative to the current Republican Party establishment. Perkins answered by saying that was “taking place” and that the establishment “is going to find themselves” basically on the outside. Pressed further afterwards about whether there would be an actual third party organization, Perkins said that such an effort would be “More organic.”

As to why Ben Carson and Rick Santorum tied in the poll, Perkins would only say of the two that they were “very similar in being able to tell it like it is” but notable in the results was collapse in support amongst Values Voters for Marco Rubio, which has been noted as a result of his support for immigration reform. Perkins attempted to downplay that as well, saying “I don’t think it divides the values voter.”

Paul Ryan also lost support, and Perkins addressed that by saying, “He wasn’t here personally, and it helps if you are here, because the competition is stiff.”

The status of Values Voters also was queried by other press, to which Perkins touched on the fact that polls he had seen said “Religious Freedom is an 80% issue” and that there was in his view widespread support for Christian photographers and bakers that did not want to participate in same sex marriage ceremonies against their beliefs.

Looking to the future, Perkins asserted his organization would be supporting Tom Cotton in the Arkansas Senate Race.

The Values Voter Summit runs through Sunday.

Randy Foreman is the NewsBlaze White House Correspondent, reporting from inside and outside The White House and around the beltway in Washington, D.C.