Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has taken an early lead in the Washington state caucus.
Partial returns Saturday show Romney with 31 percent of the votes. Texas Representative Ron Paul followed with 27 percent and former U.S. senator Rick Santorum had 24 percent. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich trailed with 14 percent.
The caucus comes ahead of the so-called “Super Tuesday” voting in 10 states that could determine who will face President Barack Obama — a Democrat — in November’s election.
In the latest national poll , Romney has 35 percent support, while former U.S. senator Rick Santorum has 24 percent. The other candidates, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Representative Ron Paul, trail with 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
At stake in Washington are 40 delegates to the Republican national convention