Ron Paul turns his attention to California ahead of state GOP convention and straw poll

After taking first earlier this year at the California GOP’s spring convention, Ron Paul is hoping for a repeat performance by attending the California GOP’s three-day September convention in Los Angeles from the 16th – 18th, where the state party, taking a cue from Ames, is heavily promoting a presidential straw poll.

While California is hardly a close swing state in presidential elections, and lacks the early voting influence in primaries that states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina enjoy, it does have the most voters of any state.  In addition, its state Republican Party is the largest, and its residents play a major role in funding national candidates’ election campaigns, meaning the Golden State is not one that candidates can afford to overlook.

Mitt Romney– who bought a home in Southern California last year— certainly isn’t. Michele Bachmann isn’t either. She’ll be headlining the state party’s convention this month as the opening keynote speaker on Friday. The Republican Party of California’s chairman, Tom Del Beccaro, says he’s expecting other candidates to show up to the event as well.

While Ron Paul took first in a California straw poll at the state party’s convention this March, the results may not be too surprising because the poll was conducted by the libertarian-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus of California. This September’s straw poll will be conducted by the state party, and has been hyped as a high-profile poll and litmus test akin to the historic Ames Iowa Straw Poll.

With a first place win at the CPAC straw poll this February and a statistical tie for first at Ames, Ron Paul’s prospects still look solid, but it appears that he wants to make absolutely sure, with a speech at the convention, where Paul’s campaign has confirmed he’ll spend the entire day on Saturday, attending events and greeting voters.