RICHMOND, Va.—In a year of unprecedented political fervor and discontent, the electorate is clamoring for a real leader to take up residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come 2012. With the Republicans sights set on retaking one, if not both, houses of Congress in November, the questioning has become louder on possible presidential candidates. And the talk at the Virginia Tea Party Convention this weekend has been about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The 2010 Virginia Tea Party Patriots Convention Straw Poll results showed the favorite for 2012 GOP presidential nomination was Christie. When polling closed at 3 p.m. this afternoon, the governor held a slight lead over former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Christie won 14% of the votes cast, while Palin captured 13.5%. Rounding out the top five were Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 12.5%, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich winning 8.4% and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint with 7.3%.
The poll which HUMAN EVENTS sponsored “is unique because, for the first time, it takes the pulse of a number of Tea Party, Patriot and 9/12 organizations,” said Jamie Radtke, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. “While it is early in the 2012 presidential election cycle, Americans are engaged and energized about the leadership of America, both in the 2010 mid-term elections and the 2012 presidential election.”
“The attendance at the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Convention and the turnout in this straw poll are great examples of a motivated Tea Party, Patriot and 9/12 group movement,” said Radtke.
Organizers of the convention estimated about 2,600 tickets were sold for the two-day event, with countless individuals coming in off the street and buying one-day passes.
The atmosphere at the meeting was high with anti-incumbent, anti-establishment sentiment, with many of the speakers and seminars stoking the ire by shouting rallying cries of repealing Obamacare, cutting wasteful federal programs and “throwing all the bums out.”
Former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and radio personality Herman Cain received great ovations throughout his session and received a few write-in votes. He also insinuated to not count him out as a candidate for 2012 by saying, “I might do something crazy, I might just run for President.”
Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli also garnered a lot of ovations during his session Saturday afternoon and fell right behind Cain in write-in votes.
Although Chris Christie has indicated he has no plans to run for president in 2012, you would think that the overwhelming support from the Tea Party movement here in Virginia would at least pique the governor’s interest.