Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul won a straw poll of Iowa voters Saturday, beating out his fellow GOP contenders by a huge margin.
The Texas congressman won 82 percent in the National Federation of Republican Assemblies' straw poll, out of 430 total votes cast, followed far behind by Herman Cain, who took home 14.7 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum came in third with 1 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich with 0.9 percent, Michele Bachmann with 0.5 percent, Rick Perry with 0.5 percent, Gary Johnson with 0.2 percent, with Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman zero percent.
MSNBC reports that Paul's campaign purchased a large number of tickets for the straw poll and distributed them to supporters for $10, half off the price. Cain's campaign reportedly also purchased a large number of tickets and was selling them for $20 but had difficulty distributing all of them.
Earlier in the day, Paul addressed a packed house of supporters, drawing huge applause when he called for the U.S. to withdraw troops fro Afghanistan, according to CNN.
"I think it's time for us to come home and mind our own business," Paul said. "I fear much more the erosion of the protections of our liberties here at home and the erosion of our economy than I do from any foreign adversary."
The Des Moines Register reports that most of the crowd left immediately following Paul's speech, leaving just about 100 people in the audience to hear rival GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and about 75 people for speech by Anita Perry, the wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
In his speech, Santorum defended his conservative stances on abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues, saying "They're trying to Huckabee me."
"If you look at the debates, every single moral, cultural question has come to me first," Santorum said.
"I was in a conversation with [2008 GOP presidential candidate] Mike Huckabee the other day. I said, 'Mike, they're trying to Huckabee me.' They're trying to paint [me] into that box that you're the social conservative candidate and ask you all these social conservative questions."
"Well as far as I'm concerned, bring it on. ... I am not ashamed for standing up for life, family and faith which are the foundation of our society."
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