Congressman West addressed a standing room only crowd, receiving a series of standing ovations as he discussed international, social and economic policy. This was Congressman West's third trip to CPAC. Two years ago, he attended as a concerned private citizen. Last year he gave a well received speech that catapulted him to the forefront of the conservative movement in Florida, providing the momentum to win a very competitive Congressional race. This year he was invited to give the 2011 CPAC Closing Keynote Address in recognition of his powerful work in support of conservative ideals.
The 2011 CPAC/Washington Times Presidential Straw Poll had a larger number of participants than any CPAC straw poll in past years, with a total of 3,742 votes. This was an increase of almost 56% over last year's numbers. In this year's poll Texas Congressman Ron Paul received 30% of the vote. He was followed closely by Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who received 23% of the vote. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie each received 6% of the vote. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich received 5%. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels each received 4% of the vote. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin received 3% while Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and South Dakota Senator John Thune each received 2% of the vote. Former Utah Governor John Huntsman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour each rounded out the voting with 1%. Other candidates received 5% of the vote, and 1% were undecided. The poll was opened to all CPAC participants.
At the three day conference at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, DC, conservative activists from across the country attended speeches by Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Ann Coulter, Mitch Daniels and other prominent leaders. Attendees from every state in the union took advantage of dozens of exhibitions, panel discussions, film and documentary premiers, and social events to engage other conservatives.
The American Conservative Union is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization. The American Conservative Union Foundation's annual CPAC meeting is the largest gathering of conservatives annually.