Senator Rand Paul won a straw poll of conservative activists on Saturday, giving his potential bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 a boost, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came in second in a surprising show of strength.

Whether the victory for Paul will have long-lasting benefit is unclear since his libertarian views may not have broad appeal in the Republican Party.

Paul, a 52-year-old Kentucky Republican, outdistanced most other potential candidates by taking 25.7 percent of the vote at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a gathering of activists on Washington’s outskirts of Washington.

“The constitutional conservatives of our party have spoken in a loud and clear voice today,” Paul said in a statement. ” I plan on doing my part and I hope you will join me as I continue to make the GOP a bigger, better and bolder party.”

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