Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said Monday he was offered second place in the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll if he paid a consultant.
“One of the things you see as an outsider is how corrupt the system is. You know something funny about this? I’ve attended CPAC before. I didn’t know it works this way,” Ramaswamy told Fox Business host Stuart Varney. “A consultant calls my campaign shortly after I declared, says ‘Hey, we can get you up to number two on there if you pay us a few hundred thousand dollars.’ I was shocked, you know … there’s a lot of people making money not only off of me, but every presidential campaign.” (RELATED: The Numbers Are In For The GOP’s Latest Presidential Candidate. Here’s How He Fares: POLL)
Ramaswamy, the co-founder of Strive Asset Management and a former biotech executive, finished in a four-way tie for fifth place with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the poll. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida finished second with 20% of the vote, while former President Donald Trump won with 62%.
“A straw poll is a vote that those in attendance get to participate in,” a CPAC spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “If a presidential contender is organized and popular, they can do well.
Ramaswamy announced his presidential bid Feb. 21 and has called for declaring economic independence form China, while also being well-known for opposing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing.
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake alleged during a Saturday speech at CPAC that she was offered a bribe to stay out of politics for two years.
Ramaswamy did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the DCNF.
This article has been updated with comment from the Conservative Political Action Conference.
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