- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yes, earnest talk and aggressive posturing have their charm. But fame and a name also resonate with voters. A new survey finds that Republicans who have some celebrity fanfare going for them lead the early-bird presidential polls. And who’s in first place at the moment? That would be Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, followed by Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Rep. Paul Ryan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“When it comes to running for president — at least at this early stage — a famous name sure helps,” points out Greg Holyk, an analyst for the ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday.

“Each of the current leaders has name recognition. Paul’s father and Huckabee ran previously for their party’s nomination,” Mr. Holyk says, recalling the 2012 election when then Rep. Ron Paul captivated libertarians and Mr. Huckabee held his own with a down-home style.


PHOTOS: Armed and liberal: Left-leaning celebrities who are pro-gun


Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. And Bush, a former Florida governor, has a father and a brother you might have heard of,” he continues. And though some strategists dismiss early polling, it still has value.

“An early advantage, even if based on name-recognition, still is an advantage and one that can carry through to the presidency, as in the case of George W. Bush,” Mr. Holyk continues, noting that the findings reveal something about the voters.

Huckabee, an ordained minister, does particularly well among evangelical white Protestants and strong conservatives, two customarily high-turnout groups in many GOP primaries and caucuses,” he says. “He also does better among the party faithful — important in closed primaries — than among Republican-leaning independents, while Paul, like his father before him, has more strength among independents.”

BUBBATOPIA

“I want to thank Hillary for coming with me today. It’s been a long time. She hasn’t had to sit through one of these in ages.”

— Former President Bill Clinton to Hillary Clinton, who sat in the audience during his speech Wednesday at Georgetown University.

DOWN GEORGIA WAY

“For anti-gun politicians, activists and their billionaire allies like Michael Bloomberg who want to use the actions of a madman to restrict our Second Amendment rights in Georgia, we have one simple message: Don’t even think about it,” says Patrick Parsons, executive director of Georgia Gun Owners, a nonprofit in Kennesaw, the same town where a gunman opened fire and wounded six people at a FedEx facility earlier this week.

“While our first thoughts are to send out prayers to the victims and their families, the all-too predictable calls for gun control from gun-grabbers is nothing less than despicable,” he says, taking particular issue with “Gun Free Zone” signs.

“No criminal, thug or madman is afraid of a plastic ‘Gun Free Zone’ sign. No posted sign or law will stop someone from doing harm to another. While we believe private property owners should be able to decide for themselves whether they allow firearms on their property, those who ban them publicly do so at the peril of their employees and their place of business,” Mr. Parsons says.

The group is now calling on the Georgia General Assembly to eliminate all “Gun Free Zones” in Georgia, and for private businesses with anti-gun policies to eliminate them “at once.”

STILL SHIELDING DEMOCRATS

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