Neurosurgeon Ben Carson defeated a host of well-known Republicans in a weekend straw poll in Colorado of potential 2016 presidential candidates.
Carson, who has been encouraged by some conservatives to run for the White House in 2016, won the Western Conservative Summit straw poll in Denver, the group announced.
With more than 147 votes, Carson placed ahead of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (112 votes) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (82 votes). More than 600 votes were cast from Friday to Sunday during the three-day conference.
Other top finishers included Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Rand Paul.
A group urging Carson to enter the race, The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, is arguing that the results show that Carson is appealing to conservatives.
“Grassroots activists and voters are voicing their overwhelming support for Dr. Carson to make a 2016 presidential run,” said Vernon Robinson, the committee’s campaign director. “The latest poll only proves that Dr. Carson has the backing of Americans who believe in family, faith, and the future of our great nation.”
“This straw poll serves as further proof for Dr. Carson that Americans stand behind him and want him to run in 2016,” said John Philip Sousa IV, the national chairman of the committee. “They believe that Dr. Carson can help America heal and get back on the path to prosperity.”