1. Rand Paul: For the third consecutive year in a row, Senator Rand Paul won the CPAC straw poll. Even when Rand had to delay his speech so he could vote in the senate, his presence was still widely accounted for through the mass amounts of supporters throughout the Gaylord Hotel. When he spoke, the room was filled with sounds of cheers and supporters chanting, “Run, Rand, run!”
2. Donald Trump: Trump, always accompanied by mass security, constantly made his presence known. Trump also exclaimed that there was a 75-80% chance that he might run for president in 2016. While he has speculated about presidency many times, this time it seems like he truly might run. Trump finished 6th in this year’s straw poll, just 3% below Jeb Bush.
3. Jeb Bush: Saying that Jeb Bush drew some of the most controversy during CPAC is an understatement. Before Jeb even spoke, the simple mention of his name caused the crowd to go into an uproar, and prompted mass amounts of booing. However, When Jeb spoke later in the day, the mass amounts of booing went from the entire room to only half of the room. Allegedly, this is because Jeb bused in supporters for his interview with Hannity. Even with busing in supporters, Bush only managed to get around 8% of the vote in the straw poll.
3. 1776 Man: You can’t really have a large conservative conference without this man. He frequents CPAC, accompanied by a flag, a hat, and a lot of patriotism.
4. Hannity: Hannity said that he is currently undecided about who he will vote for for president and vowed to invite all presidential candidates as frequently as possible to his show. He even started interviewing candidates during the conference.
5. The Media: Not only was there a huge media presence, but many of the speakers talked about the liberal media. RNC chair, Priebus told the crowd that the days of the liberal media calling the shots during presidential campaigns is over.
6. Youth: Youth made up much of the attendance at CPAC, proving that the Republican party is not just a party of old white guys. In fact, the youth made up nearly half of the conference this year. As the final remarks were being made, and the straw poll winner was announced, the stage filled with millennials.
7. Phil Robertson: Robertson gave CPAC a great lesson on subjects ranging from the founding fathers to STD’s on Friday afternoon. He reaffirmed that religion was a notation that aligned with the mentality of the founding fathers, and that people needed to stay with only one partner and wait until after marriage in order to prevent STD’s.
8. The Results: With the presidential elections just a year away, the straw poll results were extremely important. The following are graphics that portray the results of the CPAC 2015 straw poll
9. Other Highlights: Some other highlights of the weekend included Scott Walker becoming a potential front runner, the constant speculation that the next president was somewhere at CPAC, and the persistent commentary that we need to unite all sides of the Republican party: libertarian and establishment, tea party and right of right.