Mackinac Island: Against a breathtaking Straits of Mackinac backdrop on the porch of the Grand Hotel this morning, Michigan Republican party chairman Bobby Schostak announced that Mitt Romney had overwhelmingly won a straw poll of party loyalists at the Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island.
The affection of Michigan Republicans for the Romneys was palpable throughout the day yesterday—from their heroes' welcome as their ferry pulled into the Mackinac Island docks, to their entrance into dinner at the Grand Hotel. Diners caught their breath, then rose in a warm standing ovation as Mitt and Ann Romney entered the exquisite dining room with its elegant Carleton Varnay-designed interior.
From recounting his courtship with Ann on Mackinac Island when his father, George Romney, was governor of Michigan (1963-69), to the reciting of a stanza of the poem, “Men to Match My Mountains” ( …men with empires in their purpose and new eras in their brain) Romney's address riveted the crowd.
Earlier in the day, Texas Governor Rick Perry received thunderous applause as he spoke over lunch at the Grand Hotel—following a rousing introduction by Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller. Even so, Perry took only 16 percent of the straw poll vote at the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island. Herman Cain took third in the poll.