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Senior Republicans are planning to meet at a rural retreat in Virginia within days of the election to discuss how to rebuild a party they expect to be badly beaten in the White House and congressional races.
News of the meeting emerged as a poll in Arizona indicated that John McCain could suffer the embarrassing loss of his home state. The poll put McCain on 46% and Barack Obama on 44%, indicating the Republicans are struggling to hold on in their traditional heartlands.
Details of next week's post-election meeting, to be attended by state chairmen and prominent activists from the conservative wing of the party, are being kept secret for fear of being seen to preempt the outcome of the presidential contest.
It is intended to look at who should take over chairmanship of the party, whether the party needs to switch to the right, and to make plans for the next presidential election.