The Wake County Republican Party held a straw poll Tuesday night ahead of the March 15 primary, and the results reflected some of the anti-establishment sentiment that’s become a national trend this election season.
Wake Republicans picked Ted Cruz (37 percent) and Donald Trump (21 percent) as their top two presidential candidates. Marco Rubio was third with 18 percent.
Only 26 percent of those participating backed incumbent Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. Her challenger, Jim Duncan of Chatham County, got 41 percent, and Frank Roche got 22 percent.
While Gov. Pat McCrory got 86 percent support for the gubernatorial primary, Wake Republicans weren’t supportive of one of his key policy initiatives: The Connect N.C. bond referendum. About 68 percent of participants said they’re opposed to the $2 billion plan to borrow for higher education and other projects.
In the poll of the Senate race, incumbent Sen. Richard Burr had 48 percent, with challenger Greg Brannon coming a close second with 44 percent.
Other straw poll winners included Sen. Buck Newton for attorney general, Mike Causey for insurance commissioner, A.J. Daoud for secretary of state, Rosemary Stein for superintendent of public instruction and Nelson Dollar for state House.
About 1,000 Republican activists participated in the event, according to a news release. Not all of them voted in the straw poll – the tally on the bond referendum, for example, was 121 votes in favor and 257 against.
“We were overwhelmed with the turnout and the enthusiasm,” Wake GOP spokesman Charles Hellwig said. “For this many volunteers to show up in February to plan and organize for the fall elections was simply amazing.”
Full results of the poll are below: