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Rand Paul wins straw poll during GOP gathering on Mackinac Island

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is the site of the annual Mackinac Policy Conference.

Michigan Republicans have wrapped up their leadership conference on Mackinac Island. Senator Rand Paul won a straw poll of the 2,200 Republicans in attendance. Paul told the conference he’s the candidate who will shake things up.

“We’re trying to choose someone who can best beat the Democrats, but we also want somebody who won’t preserve the status quo  –  someone who will actually make government smaller.”

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina came in second in the straw poll, and also attracted a crowd wherever she went.

Fiorina told the conference that she’s a political outsider who can fix what’s wrong with politics.


“Pick your issue, your cause, your festering problem. The political class has failed us all, not because they’re bad people, but because they’ve been in this system for so long.” 

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz, and Ohio Governor John Kasich also took a break from campaigning in the early primary states to pay a visit to the conference. The Michigan presidential primary date is March 8.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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