Paul Wins Straw Poll at GOP Conference

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NEW ORLEANS - Rep. Ron Paul of Texas has won the presidential straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference.

The perennial libertarian candidate won 612 votes from the gathering that brings presidential candidates, party elders, grassroots activists and donors. Coming in second place was former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who served three Republican administrations and then worked as President Barack Obama's ambassador to China.

Huntsman got 382 votes, but did not address the conference. Aides said he was ill.

His wife, Mary Kaye Huntsman, came to meet privately with activists.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a tea party darling, collected 191 votes. Former pizza executive Herman Cain won 104 votes and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney skipped the event and picked up 74 votes. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got 69 votes.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Associated Press

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