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More 2012: Paul wins another straw poll

CALIFORNIA: Politico notes that only two possible presidential candidates -- Haley Barbour and long-shot John Bolton -- attended the California Republican spring convention, reflecting the difficulty the state might have in playing a big role in the 2012 elections, especially as a bill that would push the state’s primary from February to June makes its way through the legislature.

At a California GOP convention luncheon, GOP pollster Frank Luntz conducted an informal applause poll, in which attendees clapped for their favorite potential candidates. “Those winning the loudest applause were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also received a good amount of applause. Other names such as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who will address the convention tonight, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels received less applause.”

But Ron Paul won the actual straw poll at the convention, The State Column writes.

IOWA: The influence of social conservatives in Iowa is growing, the Associated Press reports, making it hard for presidential hopefuls in the state to play up their credentials on the economy, a more nationally visible topic.

Iowa’s first redistricting plan will be released in two weeks by a nonpartisan team, the Des Moines Register reports.

MASSACHUSETTS: Sen. Scott Brown brought the house down at the annual Southie roast this weekend, the Boston Globe writes. "Brown mentioned the state's traveling governor, Deval Patrick, and said of the Democrat: 'Honestly, really, I’m so glad that the governor is here, because if he wasn’t here, he'd actually be out trying to recruit another candidate to run against me.'"

MINNESOTA: The Minneapolis Star-Tribune pushes back on Tim Pawlenty’s oft-repeated phrase that he is a former Republican governor from a blue state. “Just how blue are we?” the Star Tribune asks. “Until 2010, when DFL Gov. Mark Dayton won in a squeaker, the state had not elected a Democratic governor since 1986. In fact, since Minnesota began electing governors to four-year terms (thanks to a 1958 constitutional amendment), it had voted for six Republican governors, five Democratic ones and one Reform Party governor (Jesse Ventura). A little deeper: Since Minnesota became a state, it has sent more Republicans to the U.S. Senate than Democrats. Since 1978, it sent an equal number of Democrats as Republicans to the U.S. Senate.”

MISSOURI: Roll Call takes a look at the Republicans preparing to mount challenges to Sen. Claire McCaskill. 

The New York Times, profiling new DCCC chair Rep. Steve Israel this weekend: "The House Democratic campaign account is $19 million in the red. Mr. Israel is supposed to raise upward of $150 million for the battle to win back the majority. And his colleagues are not giving him much help."