Oxon Hill, Md. – Conservative activists gave Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul a narrow victory Saturday in a presidential preference poll.
Paul’s victory in the unscientific yet symbolic straw poll capped last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Paul won with 25 percent of the vote, just ahead of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 23 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was third with 8 percent.
The victory offers little more than bragging rights for Paul, who is popular with the younger generation of libertarian-minded conservatives who packed the conference in suburban Washington. Nearly 3,000 people participated in the online poll and more than half were younger than 26.
Paul’s father, former Texas congressman Ron Paul, won the straw poll in 2010 and 2011.
Irish official abstains from men-only event
Savannah, Ga. – A top Irish government official visiting the U.S. during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations said Saturday he skipped a trip to Savannah, home of the largest and oldest St. Pat’s parade in the American South, to avoid a dinner where only men are allowed.
Eamon Gilmore, who as deputy prime minister and foreign minister is essentially Ireland’s No. 2 politician, instead made stops in Atlanta and New Orleans – where St. Patrick’s Day crowds and parades pale in comparison to the nearly 200-year-old celebration in Savannah, which boasts that its parade is the nation’s second-largest.
Gilmore told the Irish Times a visit to Georgia’s oldest city would have come with the expectation he attend the annual dinner of the Hibernian Society of Savannah, a private event open only to men.
“Count me out – I’m not doing it,” Gilmore told the Irish newspaper.
“I don’t believe in segregation either on a gender basis or on any other basis.”
Early Irish immigrants to the Georgia coast held the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah in 1824, and it has since swelled into a massive street party and tourism bonanza known to draw 400,000 or more revelers a year to the city of 136,000.