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Rand Paul Hails Victory in Michigan Straw Poll

Image: Rand Paul Hails Victory in Michigan Straw Poll

By Matthew Auerbach   |   Sunday, 22 Sep 2013 10:46 PM

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sees his decisive victory in this weekend’s Michigan GOP presidential straw poll as a clear sign his views on a variety of issues are resonating with Republicans of all ages, Politico reports.

Paul won the 2016 straw poll with 36 percent of ballots cast at the biennial Republican conference, doubling those of his nearest rival, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who placed second with 18 percent. .

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush finished third with 8 percent, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who each tallied 7 percent.

Jindal and Walker also spoke at the conference. Christie, Cruz and Bush did not.

Paul characterized the conference as being “jammed full of really a lot of young people.”

“There’s just a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of people out here excited about the message of how we grow the Republican Party,” Paul said.

The Kentucky senator has repeatedly called the inclusion of young people and minorities into the GOP a top priority.

Paul said he received an overwhelmingly positive reaction at the conference to his testimony last week at a Senate hearing regarding mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes.

Paul said the current sentencing guidelines were unjust and disproportionately harmful to minorities.

“Many people came up to me and said, ‘You’re exactly right,’” Paul said.

Paul said he also spoke with school-choice advocates from the Detroit area, and said he is likely to return to Michigan to visit charter schools in Detroit.

When asked what his weekend success in Michigan might mean his own 2016 plans, Paul was non-committal.

“You never know,” Paul said.

Last week, Paul would say whether he plans to run for president in 2016. He insisted was working to make the Republican Party bigger and more inclusive.

Appearing on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" on Thursday, the Republican senator from Kentucky said he has been talking about the unfairness of mandatory minimum sentences, which disproportionately affect African Americans.

"I'm working very hard to make sure our party's bigger and more inclusive," Paul told host Sean Hannity, saying he wants blacks and Latinos to know they are welcome in the party.

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