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In Conn., Romney Wins GOP Fundraiser Straw Poll As Voting Underway In South Carolina

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets people during a campaign stop at Tommy’s Country Ham House on January 21, 2012 in Greenville, South Carolina. Romney continues to campaign for votes in South Carolina on primary day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets people during a campaign stop at Tommy’s Country Ham House on January 21, 2012 in Greenville, South Carolina. Romney continues to campaign for votes in South Carolina on primary day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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BRISTOL, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – People who cast ballots in a non-binding fundraising GOP straw poll sponsored by the Connecticut Republican Party favored former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The Connecticut GOP announced Friday night that Romney received 28 percent of the vote in the presidential straw poll, followed by Newt Gingrich with 28 percent and Ron Paul with 26 percent. Rick Santorum was in a distant fourth place with 11 percent.       The straw poll was a fundraiser for the party; ballots cost $20 apiece. Participants could vote online from Jan. 5 until 8:30 p.m. Friday. There also were two voting locations in Bristol.

Spokesman Bryan Cafferelli says the straw poll raised more than $12,000.

Connecticut’s official presidential primary is scheduled for April 24.

Meanwhile, polls are open in South Carolina as Gingrich emerges as the new front-runner, leading Romney now by 6 points.

Friday night in South Carolina, voters called on Gingrich to release more details about his Congressional ethics violations. Romney first made that demand after Gingrich called on Romney to release his tax returns. Romney says he’ll do that in April.

Rick Santorum made clear his pro-life position and Ron Paul compared those who are contributing to his campaign to those padding Romney’s war-chest.

“His top three donors are banks, including Goldman Sachs,” said Paul. “Our campaign has a top three donors. First, it’s the Army, the Air Force and then it’s the Navy.”

Polls in South Carolina close at 7 p.m. The next primary is Jan. 31 in Florida.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)