Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) easily won the Illinois Straw Poll Saturday as the state’s Republicans showed their preference for their party’s presidential nomination to oppose President Barack Obama.
The Illinois Straw Poll was originally the idea of . Kirk originally announced the plan Feb. 6 in an effort to give Illinois Republicans a greater voice in the presidential nominating process.
“Illinois can play a role in the presidential selection process with this straw poll,” Kirk said Saturday at the Wheeling Township Republican Headquarters in Arlington Heights. The site is one of 20 around the state.
With Illinois’s primary set March 20 Kirk is afraid the state may not have much influence picking the Republican nominee. Voters will begin making choices in Iowa Jan. 3 and New Hampshire Jan. 10.
“Illinois is usually a flyover between Iowa and New Hampshire,” Kirk said. “To have a straw poll one year to the day (of the presidential election) gives Illinois voters a voice in the nominating process.”
Kirk has yet to endorse any of the Republican candidates and has no immediate plans to name a choice. Though he would not disclose his vote, Kirk cast a ballot on line earlier this week. Voting began Oct. 29.
“I was worried about numbers but now I’m not,” Kirk said. More than 5,000 people had voted on line by 10 a.m. Saturday according to Kirk.
Paul took 52 percent of the votes cast both on line through the week and in person yesterday in 20 locations throughout the state. Georgia businessman Herman Cain was second (18 %), former Massachusetts Mitt Romney third (14 %), and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich fourth (9 %).
Far behind were Texas Gov. Rick Perry (2.5 %), former Utah Gov. John Huntsman (1.5 %), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (1.1 %).
of Highland Park, a Lincolnshire pediatrician who is running for the seat being vacated by retiring thinks the Illinois Straw Poll has national significance.
“I think the Illinois Straw Poll is a great idea,” Friedman said. “In the home state of the sitting President (Barack Obama) it’s important for the nation and Illinois Republicans to know how we feel.”
Though Kirk has yet to make an endorsement, told Patch Saturday in Arlington Heights he will be making his choice public soon. He cast his ballot at the Arlington Heights site Saturday.
“The straw poll is a way for people to get engaged,” Dold said. “This gives them a chance to express their choice.
of Northbrook was also there. He is the only Republican challenger to state Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) so far. He did not express a preference for his party’s nomination either.
“I’ve been focused on my own race. The presidential race will play out on its own,” Greenberg said. “I will have knocked on my two thousandth door next week or the week after,” he added about his effort to win a seat in the General Assembly.
Dold joins bipartisan fiscal effort
A few days earlier Dold took part in a bipartisan effort to influence the Congressional Super Committee currently trying to cut government deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion by the end of the month.
Dold was one of 100 members of Congress—60 Democrats and 40 Republicans—to sign a letter asking the committee to consider all possibilities including ways to increase revenue.
“We need a big bold bipartisan plan if we are going to get spending under control,” Dold said. “This has to pass the House and Senate. We want them to know there is support.”
Dold recognizes an increased government revenue stream could reduce the need to cut some spending. “If we eliminate tax loopholes and cut the corporate tax rate it will broaden the revenue stream,” he said.