FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Firebrand U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has easily won a 2016 presidential straw poll at the state Republican Convention being held in Fort Worth.
Cruz took 43 percent of the vote Saturday, at a gathering in Fort Worth featuring roughly 7,000 delegates. Conservative speaker and author Ben Carson was second with 12.2 percent.
The result was announced a day after Cruz promised to lead a national conservative revolution unseen since the days of Ronald Reagan.
Cruz easily bested Texas Gov. Rick Perry who took 11.7 percent, and fellow tea party favorite and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who won 12.1 percent.
Perry also addressed the convention as did Paul, who was born in Texas and whose father Ron long-served in Congress from the state.
Meanwhile, tea party insurgents pushing for a harder line on immigration have scored a major victory at the convention, gutting support of a guest worker program from the party platform.
Roughly 7,000 delegates endorsed making the change Saturday.
Delegates just two years ago endorsed a platform calling for making it easier for people in the U.S. illegally to get good-paying jobs.
Supporters argued it would meet the needs of Texas’ fast-growing economy and could serve as a boon to the state’s booming Hispanic population.
The convention had appeared poised to pass a plank largely preserving the guest-worker program. But after hours of debate, those who likened that endorsement to amnesty won out.
The vote was so contentious that the convention called an unusual roll-call vote.
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