Donald Trump won the straw poll Thursday night put on by the Villages Republican clubs.
It was a record turnout, noted Gary Lester, vice president of community relations for The Villages, who emceed the event. Many at the event indicated it was the first time they had ever taken part in a straw poll in The Villages.
The straw poll was conducted by The Villages Republican Club of Sumter County and the Republican Club of Sumter Landing.
Those attending the straw poll were given the opportunity to make the case for their candidate.
Walt and Bonnie Farnsworth of the Village of Pennecamp turned out in favor of Donald Trump.
“It’s his demeanor and his honesty,” Walt Farnsworth said. “And it’s the fact he doesn’t owe anybody any thing.”
Ann Schilling of the Village of Del Mar was proudly sporting her Trump button.
“He is the one candidate not on the dole and not available to the special interest groups.” Schilling said.
Bob Bredin of the Village of Mallory Square went on an anti-Trump rant as the straw poll began. He was roundly booed.
Some Villagers spoke out in favor of Marco Rubio, but they received tepid responses.
Community Development District 9 Supervisor Steve Printz, a candidate for the Sumter County Commission, attempted to make the case for Rubio. Printz said he believes Rubio is the one Republican who can defeat Hillary Clinton in November.
Rev. Gerald Bustin spoke out in favor of Ted Cruz, citing religious reasons.
“If we don’t come back to God, we are going to end up on the scrap of nations like Rome and others,” he said.
Trump won big. Rubio came in second. The other candidates barely registered in the straw poll.