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Anti-Washington candidates dominate local straw poll

Anti-Washington candidates Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina blew away the competition in a presidential primary straw poll cast by Apple Festival visitors Friday through Sunday, the Henderson County Republican Party said.

Straw poll participants were asked to pick their top three choices among 17 Republican candidates. Carson, Trump and Fiorina — whose backgrounds are in medicine and business, not politics — and Texas senator Ted Cruz finished 1, 2, 3 and 4 all three days. Marco Rubio finished fifth Friday and Saturday while Jeb Bush came in fifth on Sunday. The only other candidate to crack the top six was Mike Huckabee, who finished sixth on Saturday.
Over the course of the three days, 4,617 festival-goers cast 1,539 ballots.

Overall order of finish and vote totals were Ben Carson (1,103), Donald Trump (791), Carly Fiorina (484), Ted Cruz (430), Marco Rubio (350), Jeb Bush (305), Mike Huckabee (267), Scott Walker (209), John Kasich (123), Rand Paul (123), Chris Christy (114), Lindsey Graham (86), Bobby Jindal (77), Rick Perry (76), Rick Santorum (61), George Pataki (14), and Jim Gilmore (4).

"In terms of discernible patterns, we received 98 ballots with only one candidate selected," Party Chairman Glen Englram said in a news release. "These ballots are not included in the totals above, but do reflect an interest which may (or may not) predict the voter’s willingness to consider another candidate should their preferred candidate not become the nominee. Passion for their candidate may have also been a factor.
"The largest number of single-choice ballots pointed to either Donald Trump (45 ballots) or Ben Carson (28 ballots). All others were in single digits."
"Though write-in candidates were not solicited, we did receive vote each for Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Hillary Clinton," he added.
"Visitors to our booth also received a hard copy screen shot of candidate comparisons compiled by the non-partisan, reproduced with their permission."