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Romney beats Palin in convention straw poll

Compiled from InsiderAdvantage and Southern Political Report staff

April 11, 2010

The Republican establishment favourite, Mitt Romney, secured a surprise victory over the American right's grassroots choice Sarah Palin at the weekend in an early test of who will challenge Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race. Romney, the multi-millionaire businessman and former Massachusetts governor, won 24% (439 votes) to Palin's 18% (330 votes) among delegates at the Southern Republican leadership conference, a traditional showcase for presidential hopefuls. Romney's win came despite his failure to attend the New Orleans conference.

 -- In a speech in front of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Saturday night, Michael Steele admitted that he's made "mistakes" during his tenure as the head of the Republican National Committee. He also said that he had learned from these mistakes and warned Republicans that Democrats would try to focus on his gaffes, rather than issues.  

-- Come November, North Carolina voters may have another choice on their ballot: Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians -- and the North Carolina First party. North Carolina First is billed as a progressive alternative for voters upset with the status quo in Washington. About 100 canvassers are circulating petitions to get the party on the ballot. Spokesman Greg Rideout said they have about 10,000 of the 80,000 or so required signatures. He described the effort as an alternative for disgruntled progressives. "We're going to have a place to go if they don't think they're getting their voice heard by either major party," he said. "(Washington) seems to only work for lobbyists and special interests, and in the meantime folks who want to be heard are not being heard."  

-- US Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Sunday morning said he hopes he could support the president's nominee to fill an open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. But he would not rule out a filibuster by Republicans against a nominee. If President Barack Obama nominates someone who is clearly outside the mainstream regarding interpretation of the Constitution, "then I think every power should be utilized to protect the Constitution," Sessions said.

-- In a pool hall lit by Budweiser lamps and big-screen TVs, U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek and a few union leaders from the nearby Lockheed Martin plant bonded over buffalo wings. The Miami representative with a taste for steakhouses and cigars serves on a po erful tax-writing House committee. He has flown on Air Force One and was recently spotted getting a pedicure at a Washington salon. But in an anti-incumbent election year, Meek is emphasizing other parts of his resume: his working-class roots, love of fishing and hunting, even his dyslexia. 



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