By Erik Wasson
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 Bachmann (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 Thune (R-S.D.) and real estate mogul Donald Trump.
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 McCain (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.