Senator Ted Cruz won the Values Voter straw poll — for the third year in a row. Cruz won 35 percent, while Dr. Ben Carson finished second with 18 percent, followed by Gov. Mike Huckabee at 14 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio at 13 percent. No other candidates received double-digit support. Current GOP front-runner Donald Trump finished fifth at 5 percent.
What about establishment favorite Jeb Bush? He got seven percent. Whoops! No, not seven percent — seven votes! Bush finished in 12th place — just barely ahead of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, who got five votes.
Many of you may be wondering who those folks were who backed Bernie Sanders. I don’t think they were values voters. We know leftists come to the event to monitor what is said and to stir up trouble. As long as they are paid registrants, they can vote in the straw poll.
And Sanders was the clear favorite among the left-wing contingent that voted in the poll. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jim Webb got one vote each.
Bush’s poor performance may have had something to do with the fact that he declined to speak at this year’s event. Not only did Jeb not go, his campaign evidently did not think it was worth sending supporters in order to make a good showing in the straw poll.
What that seemingly signals is that Bush doesn’t care about how he is doing among the most significant gathering of social conservatives in Washington, D.C.
Or he may be signaling to the media that he doesn’t want the support of values voters. Bush has tried to appeal to the media before with comments about being willing to “lose the primary to win the general” election.
Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.