Video produced by Sara Kenigsberg
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain came out on top in the Florida straw poll on Saturday.
The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza won the test of conservative strength with roughly 37 percent of the vote. Texas Governor Rick Perry came in second place, followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who did not actively compete in the event. Here's a full breakdown of the results:
Herman Cain: 37.11%
Rick Perry: 15.43%
Mitt Romney: 14.00%
Rick Santorum: 10.88%
Ron Paul: 10.39%
Newt Gingrich: 8.43%
Jon Huntsman: 2.26%
Michele Bachmann: 1.51%
"This is a sign of our growing momentum and my candidacy that cannot be ignored," Cain said in a statement addressing the results. "I will continue to share my message of 'common sense solutions' across this country and look forward to spending more time in Florida, a critical state for both the nomination and the general election."
Perry, who was expected by many to win the straw poll, signaled his belief earlier in the day that it was a "big mistake" for rival candidates like Romney and Bachmann to opt against campaigning for support in the event.
The Lone Star State Republican said, "I've got all my hopes on Florida."
HuffPost's Jon Ward reported from Florida on Friday:
Just a few weeks ago, the Texas governor was taking the Republican presidential primary by storm, but his star has fallen rapidly over the course of his first three debates. On Thursday night, it came crashing down.
Conservatives flocked to the three-day conclave here – kicked off by the Google-Fox News debate Thursday night – "ready to marry" Perry, but left "spooked" by his performance, said one Florida Republican with contacts among both campaign operatives and grassroots activists.
That discontent has been building, though it's not final in any sense. Perry's fortunes have fallen in large part because of a series of gaffes that demonstrated his lack of discipline and experience on a national stage. In several key moments during the past few weeks, the governor showed a tendency to undermine some of his best moments and to make tough or difficult moments even worse. His potential supporters have grown leery of Perry as the list of his unforced errors has grown longer.
Before hitting bumps in the road, Perry experienced a surge in the polls after announcing his candidacy for president of the United States. The Texas governor jumped into the GOP primary race the same day as the Ames Straw Poll. He did not actively compete in the event, which was won by Bachmann.
Even though Bachmann did not campaign for support in the Florida straw poll, the conservative congresswoman's eighth place finish is likely to be treated as a sign of bad news for her political ambitions.
Nevertheless, on Friday Bachmann said she's "in it for the long haul" despite many framing the race as a match-up between Perry and Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.
Whether or not the results of the Florida straw poll will affect the state of the GOP primary race remains to be seen. While Cain has been considered a longshot contender in the Republican contest, the presidential hopeful has found success in appealing to conservatives on the trail.
For more on Herman Cain, check out the slideshow below:
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