CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- John Perdue came out ahead in the first straw poll for the upcoming special primary election for West Virginia governor Friday night.
The Charleston Democratic Executive Committee hosted its first straw poll for the 2011 special primary election for Governor at its annual fundraiser, held at the Charleston Woman's Club.
The straw poll, an informal sampling with nonbinding results that is an attempt to indicate a candidate's organizational strength and party activists' leaning, could be a precursor for how the primary election on May 14 will play out.
The five candidates -- Perdue, Jeff Kessler, Natalie Tennant, Rick Thompson and Earl Ray Tomblin -- gave short speeches at the event.
Perdue led the poll, garnering 25.1 percent of the votes, followed by Thompson with 23.8 percent, Kessler with 22.01 percent, Tennant with 20.74 percent and Tomblin with 6.2 percent. The remaining 2.15 percent was made up of write-in candidates.
According to Brad Heflin, a committeeman and the state party's technology director, more than 300 people from across the state took part in the poll.