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Straw Poll At Texas GOP Convention Pits Perry Against Cruz In GOP Presidential Run

Republican Party of Texas

The Republican Party of Texas chairman and a political expert predict that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will win the convention's presidential straw poll being conducted this week in Fort Worth.

Perry spoke today at the 2014 Republican State Convention, which was streamed online via the Texas Tribune.

"We need to set the stage for 2016, when we will win the White House and we will rebuild the American dream,” Perry said to the crowd.

Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri said Cruz is the most popular Republican at this year's convention.

"It's no doubt Cruz has reached rock star status," Munisteri said.

Southern Methodist University Political Science Professor Cal Jillson said this year’s convention will be dominated by tea party enthusiasts, especially following state runoff election wins by tea party candidates. Jillson said the tea party sees Perry as a setting sun in Texas politics.

“Other longtime incumbents simply haven’t been able to convince the tea party that they’re more than traditional conservatives, that they’re small government activist,” Jillson said.

While he and others predict Cruz to win the Texas GOP convention’s straw poll, that may not be the case on the national stage.

“Around the rest of the country the tea party has been on the wane, so Rick Perry will be on more of an evener-footing in a national race,” Jillson said.

Jillson said groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their affiliates aren't sure about Cruz's past decisions on business issues and they worry about his ability to govern.

The Texas GOP convention runs through Saturday, and the results of the presidential straw poll will be announced at the end of the three-day event.

Perry only managed 5 percent in a straw poll conducted on May 31 at the national 2014 Republican Leadership Convention in New Orleans, finishing in 5th place. Cruz won the RLC straw poll with just over 30 percent, barely beating renown neurosurgeon Ben Carson.