Sen. Rand Paul was the favorite in a presidential straw poll at a Republican leadership conference in Michigan that concluded Sunday.
Of the 526 votes, the Kentucky Republican took 35%, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received 16% at the three-day event on Mackinac Island.
"I want to talk about how he we grow the Republican Party and we make it a bigger party. Michigan is a good example of how there are some successes," Paul told reporters Saturday at the conference. "There's a Republican governor. There's a Republican state senate...and a Republican state house. But both U.S. Senate seats are held by Democrats and the president won pretty easily in Michigan."
"So we need to figure out how not only to win in the off-year, state elections," he continued. "We need to figure out how to win in the national elections also."
Following Paul and Christie were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 8%, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 7%, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 7%, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 5%, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan at 4%.
Paul, Walker, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivered speeches at the conference.
Previous winners of the Mackinac presidential straw poll included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2011 (and 2007) and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in 2009.
This marks the second straw poll of the year for Paul, who says he'll make a decision next year about running for president in 2016. The senator took first place in a straw poll at a larger conservative gathering earlier this year in Washington, known as CPAC. His father, former GOP congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, won the CPAC straw poll in 2011 and 2010.
The straw poll in Michigan was conducted by Gongwer News Service and Decider Strategies.
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