CHICAGO Ron Paul was declared the winner on Saturday of a weeklong Republican presidential straw poll in Democratic President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois.
Texas Congressman Paul won 52 percent of the combined 3,649 online and in-person votes cast between October 29 and Saturday evening. He won 66.5 percent of the votes cast over the Internet and 8 percent of those cast in person.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earned 7 percent of the online votes cast and 35 percent of the in-person votes, winning the most in-person votes cast at 22 locations, the party said.
Businessman Herman Cain won 15 percent of the online vote and 29 percent of the in-person vote.
Romney's and Cain's combined totals were not immediately announced.
Each voter was required to make a $5 contribution to the Illinois Republican Party to cover costs of the straw poll and to support state and local Republican candidates.
"Today's straw poll was an excellent opportunity to showcase our party's strength one year out of the election," said Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady. "I am pleased with today's turnout and look forward to building on our successes from 2010."
Republicans hope to make Illinois a contested state in the 2012 general election, after Obama won his home state easily in the 2008 election.
Illinois Republicans captured four additional seats in the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections, giving them an 11 to eight majority.
(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Vicki Allen)