By THOMAS BEAUMONT
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - In the days since Republicans lost an election many in the party thought was theirs, chatter has been bubbling about what the GOP should do to recover.
For Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, it starts with the smallest of actions: abandoning the state's now-infamous straw poll.
Branstad and other critics contend the poll has devolved into a full-blown sideshow. They say it's an unfair and false test that has felled far more candidates than it has propelled to the White House.
Last year, the poll effectively ended former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign after a disappointing third-place finish.
Instead, Branstad's allies are urging the party to substitute the straw poll with a summer fundraiser, without a vote.
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