Romney wins early New Hampshire straw poll

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Former Governor Mitt Romney this afternoon handily won a New Hampshire straw poll of the party faithful, demonstrating his strength in the crucial first-in-the-nation primary state.

The poll, conducted at the Republican State Committee meeting in Derry, had Romney at 35 percent. Trailing him were Representative Ron Paul (11 percent), former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (8 percent), former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (7 percent), and Representative Michele Bachmann (5 percent).

But in a further indication that the Granite State is taking a turn toward the right, Tea Party-backed Jack Kimball was elected in a separate vote as the new GOP chairman. He defeated the establishment-backed candidate, Juliana Bergeron, by a 222-199 vote in a show of strength for the Tea Party that is bound to influence the state’s presidential primary field.

Full story: Romney wins straw poll in NH as Tea Party candidate takes COP chairmanship