Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who engineered the Republican takeover of Congress a dozen years ago, got a boost Friday from Minnesota conservatives who want him to run for president in 2008.
Gingrich was the top vote-getter in a straw poll of GOP activists at the state party convention. But the vote is at best a limited reflection of Republican sentiment in the state. The ranks of the 1,275 delegates had thinned down considerably by the time the poll was taken, and only 540 valid votes were cast.
Newt easily bested other more high profile Presidential candidates:
He got 210 votes in the straw poll, or almost 39 percent — more than twice as many as Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who came in second. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was third, followed by McCain, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.