Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney beat out other potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates in a straw poll Saturday of delegates to the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

ABC News and WMUR-TV conducted the first ever straw poll sanctioned by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee and the results may give Romney momentum as the fight to win the first-in-the-nation primary, to be held next January, begins.


Members of the state committee were asked to choose from  Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBachmann: Muslim immigrants trying to undermine Western civilization Religious leaders pray over Trump in Oval Office 'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast MORE (R-Minn), Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Herman Cain, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Amb. Jon Huntsmann, Jr., Gary Johnson, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), fromer Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (R-S.D.) and real estate mogul Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE.


Thirty-five percent backed Romney, Paul garnered 11 percent, Pawlenty got eight percent, Palin had seven percent and Bachmann got five percent.

Romney came in second in the 2008 New Hampshire primary after Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-Ariz.), who went on to win the nomination.

The vote came as the state party chose Tea Party-backed Jack Kimball to head the New Hampshire state committee. Kimball beat out businesswoman Juliana Bergeron, who was viewed as the more establishment candidate.