ORLANDO – Florida Today failed to report the overwhelming public support for Dr. Alan Keyes, a conservative Republican candidate for U.S. President, during Christian Coalition’s “God and Country Rally” held last November in Orlando, the night before the Presidency III straw poll. Dr. Keyes’ speech, calling for a grass-roots promotion of God-centered politics, was frequently interrupted by standing ovations as he electrified the crowd.
The next day, Senate majority leader Bob Dole led the November 19th straw poll with 33 percent, with a strong showing by Texas Senator Phil Gramm at 26 percent, followed by former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander at 23 percent. Pat Buchanan had 9 percent and Alan Keyes 8 percent.
Our illustrious local newspaper did report, however, that Keyes finished strong in the straw poll among Brevard voters. Columnist Jim Ash wrote that “Alan Keyes managed a surprising upset among Brevard County Republicans … finishing second in Presidency III, the most important straw poll this year” (Florida Today, 11/19/95, 4A).
The “upset” was not so surprising to those who heard Keyes speak at several appearances in Brevard during the months before Presidency III. It is obvious to all those who heard him that Keyes has captured the hearts and has fired the imaginations of many Brevard County voters.
Among the 126 Brevard County delegates at Presidency III, Senator Bob Dole won with 33 votes. Keyes came in a close second with 28 votes. The remaining votes went to Alexander, 24; Buchanan, 22; Gramm, 16; and Dornan with 3 votes.