At the monthly breakfast sponsored by the Albemarle County Republican Committee, Central Virginia Republicans had a chance to express their presidential preferences in a straw poll modeled on the one that took place at the Republican Advance in Arlington last December 1.
The results were decidedly different: Although Ron Paul won the statewide straw poll handily in December, today the winner was former Massachusetts Mitt Romney -- who has suspended his campaign for president.
The vote totals were Romney 56; John McCain 28; Ron Paul 21; Mike Huckabee 3; and Fred Thompson 2.
I was able to make video recordings of most of the proceedings.
In Part I, Keith Drake, chairman of the Albemarle GOP Committee, recites the Virginia Republican Party Creed:
In Part II, Northern Virginia attorney Chris Kachouroff speaks on behalf of Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, urging the party to return to its Goldwater-Reagan roots:
In Part III (here divided into two segments, "A" and "B"), Chairman Drake introduces former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who speaks in favor of Senator John McCain of Arizona. Oddly, Eagleburger appears to disagree with McCain on as many issues as he agrees with the Senator on; the thrust of his argument is that we should vote for McCain because he is neither Hillary Rodham Clinton nor Barack Obama:
At one point in Part III-B, Eagleburger refers to the Senator from Illinois as "Obama bin Laden." This is a cheap shot; someone who is as respected an elder statesman as Secretary Eagleburger should be respectful, as well. That the audience laughs at the line reflects poorly on those in attendance. Watch this carefully:
In Part IV, the ballots are counted and Keith Drake announces the results:
We will see on Tuesday if the unexpected result -- Romney winning so overwhelmingly -- carries over into the primary election. Could Romney receive a signal from Virginia that he should "unsuspend" his campaign?
Update: The Charlottesville Newsplex has a report by Matt Holmes. Christina Mora reports the story on Channel 29. WINA also has a report, but it won't be on the station's web site for long.