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Bush Captures Convention Straw Poll

June 7, 1987

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) _ Vice President George Bush finished first in a presidential straw poll Sunday at the Wisconsin Republican State Convention, followed by Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas and Rep. Jack Kemp on New York.

Bush captured 231 votes or 36.3 percent of the 636 ballots cast by delegates and alternates at the two-day convention. Dole got 188 votes, or 29.5 percent and Kemp got 133 votes, or 20.9 percent.

Others finishing in order were: evangelist Pat Robertson, 23 votes, or 3.6 percent; former Delaware Gov. Pierre S. du Pont, 21 votes, or 3.3 percent; former secretary of state Alexander Haig, 19 votes, or 2.9 percent; and former Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada, 3 votes, or 0.4 percent.

There were 10 undecided ballots and eight votes for other potential candidates.

″The result confirms that Wisconsin is a cross-section state,″ said GOP State Chairman Stephen B. King. ″It appears the vice president has a leg up at this time in place.″

None of the potential candidates appeared at the convention, but Dole talked to supporters Saturday in a telephone hookup from Orlando, Fla.

Bush was represented by his son, Neil, 32, of Denver, and Haig by his son, Alexander, 35, a Washington lawyer.

Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, who favored Bush in the balloting, said the outcome gave the leaders momentum.

″It will give them impetus in their efforts to organize staff and obtain campagin funding,″ said Thompson, who received Bush’s support during last year’s campaign for governor.

Neil Bush said he was pleased with his father’s showing, especially in view of the fact that ″our preconvention effort was very minimal.″

He said that because Wisconsin’s April 5 primary is well down the list of primaries next year, all the candidates appeared to be concentrating on Iowa, New Hampshire and a group of Southern states that will hold a super primary next March.

One Dole supporter, GOP National Committeeman Michael Grebe of Mequon, said the poll showed Kemp ″is stronger than most thought he would be.″ But it is early and the poll shows ″it’s a wide open race,″ he said.