by user Michael Smith
The bad news is - I didn’t win. That’s OK, I didn’t expect to win. The good news is – I came in 5 th and beat 9 others. The Dorchester Conference gathers Oregon Republicans for a weekend in beautiful Seaside. This year it included a townhall session with Sen. Gordon Smith (not particularly well received), a much more appreciated speech by Rep Greg Walden, and a presidential straw poll as this morning’s grand finale.
The audience could nominate whomever they wanted. Here are the results (with my impressions)
Rudy Giuliani – 60 votes (friendly audience, receptive to Rudy’s electability)
Newt Gingrich – 34 votes (he gets a lot of credit for the 90’s)
Mitt Romney - 23 votes (social conservatives think he’s competent as well)
John McCain – 19 votes (seemed like mostly “hawk” votes)
Me – Michael Smith – 15 votes (I focused on small gov / libertarian themes)
Tom Tancredo – 10 votes (immigration focused)
Fred Thompson – 9 votes (nostalgia for an actor-president?)
Mike Huckabee – 8 votes (Pro-lifers??)
Duncan Hunter – 4 votes (immigration and defense focused)
Greg Walden – 4 votes (native son / ag supporters)
Hillary Clinton – 2 votes (smart asses maybe?)
Ron Paul – 1 vote (libertarian leaners)
Jim Gilmore – 0 votes
Pat Buchanan – 0 votes
The remaining question for Rudy supporters – If the social conservative options had been condensed a bit more, how would he have done?
The weekend felt fruitful to me. I made some great connections with folks from various county and Republican Womens’ orgs. I did a radio interview in the lobby, and various people suggested that when I’m done tilting at windmills I should run for something more attainable. Several state Party officials broke their previous stony silence and even came close to sounding supportive.
I’m tired. I passed out a bunch of fliers, slapped stickers on anyone within arm’s reach, and just drove the 3 hours back from the coast. I’m going to kick off my shoes and slip into a beer. The only other presidential candidate with any presence at the event was a lone staffer for McCain. They have to be feeling slighted by this result.