Stephen Dinan and David Sherfinski
Sen. Rand Paul won the 2013 Washington Times-CPAC presidential preference straw poll this past weekend with Sen. Marco Rubio coming in a close second, easily outdistancing the rest of the field and signaling the rise of a new generation of conservative leaders.
Mr. Paul won 25 percent of the vote and Mr. Rubio collected 23 percent at the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering that takes the temperature of conservative grass-roots leaders.
Both Mr. Rubio and Mr. Paul were elected to the Senate in the 2010 tea party wave that served as a rebuke both to President Obama and to the legacy of President George W. Bush, and this past weekend’s results suggest a conservative movement trying to move past the last decade’s fights.
The results also captured the youthful and libertarian bent of the CPAC audience, where more than half of attendees were between 18 and 25 years of age, and where combatting government overreach was the most dominant philosophy.