• Friday, April 19, 2024

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Ramaswamy, Noem top straw polls to pick Trump’s running mate

An announcement at the end of the four-day gathering outside Washington on Saturday (24) said that Ramaswamy and Noem each garnered 15 per cent of the vote in the straw poll

Vivek Ramaswamy gestures as he arrives to take part in the first Republican Presidential primary debate at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 23, 2023. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

As Donald Trump appears poised to receive a third presidential nomination from the Republican Party, according to media reports, a straw poll conducted at a significant conservative activists’ gathering indicated that Indian-origin biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem were tied as the leading candidates to become the former US president’s vice-presidential running mate.

The straw poll, at the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC, announced at the end of the four-day gathering outside Washington on Saturday (24) said that Noem and Ramaswamy each garnered 15 per cent of the vote in the straw poll, The New York Times reported.

Tech entrepreneur Ramaswamy, 38, who was born in Cincinnati to Indian immigrant parents, ran for the Republican presidential nomination this year but dropped out of the race after finishing fourth in January’s Iowa caucuses. He then withdrew from the race and backed Trump.

Noem, 52, became the first woman governor of South Dakota when she was elected in 2018, endorsed by Trump. During the Covid pandemic, she rose to national prominence over her refusal to issue statewide mandates for vaccinations and wearing face masks.

It was the first time in years that a question about whom Republicans should pick for vice president had overshadowed one about the presidential nominee in the survey of attendees, the NYT report said.

It was also because Trump, 77, won the presidential poll as expected with a landslide over Nikki Haley, beating her 94 per cent to five per cent.

The last time Trump was not the top choice for the White House among CPAC attendees was in 2016 when Texas Senator Ted Cruz finished first, the report said.

Former Indian-origin Representative Tulsi Gabbard, from Hawaii, who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020 but has since left the party to become an independent, finished third with nine per cent of the votes followed by Representative Elise Stefanik of New York and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina with eight per cent votes each.

Senator JD Vance of Ohio, whom CPAC attendees chose as their favourite senator, received two per cent of the votes, behind former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the political scion of a Democratic family who is now running for president as an independent, the report said.

The report said that Trump’s third presidential campaign would be his first without former vice president Mike Pence as the two parted ways politically after Pence refused to help Trump overturn the 2020 election won by Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Trump on Sunday (25) secured a resounding win over his Indian-American rival Haley in South Carolina in the Republican primary. Trump has now won every contest that counted for Republican delegates, adding to his previous wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and the US Virgin Islands.

(PTI)

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