Have UKIP peaked too soon?
1 March 2015 Last updated at 12:48 GMT
UKIP leader Nigel Farage ended up speaking to a near-empty hall of American conservative activists - even though he had been billed as a "serious candidate who can run England in the near future".
But he received a hero's welcome back home at the party's spring conference in Margate, where he dismissed suggestions that support for UKIP had peaked and promised that the party would "exceed all expectations" in May.
Giles Dilnot reports.