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 BachmannBoehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Boehner finally calls it as he sees it 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 ThuneSenate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Biden outreach on infrastructure met with Republican skepticism McConnell seeks to end feud with Trump MORE (R-S.D.) and real estate mogul Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE.

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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 McCainCongress brings back corrupt, costly, and inequitably earmarks Trump knocks CNN for 'completely false' report Gaetz was denied meeting The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure 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.