Rep. Marty Seifert won a gubernatorial straw poll 37 percent of the vote at the state GOP convention in St. Paul Saturday.
Rep. Tom Emmer came in second with 23 percent and former state auditor Pat Anderson came in third with 14 percent. Sen. David Hann received 12 percent.
Each of the nine candidates spoke to the 1,200 delegates who gathered for the off-year convention. While the straw poll results are non-binding, they are a good indicator of where a party's support lies.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Saturday he might back a candidate prior to next April's GOP endorsing convention, but probably won't take sides until closer to that gathering if at all.
In a 20-minute speech, Pawlenty urged the candidates to work hard to retain the office even if it means helping a candidate who isn't their first choice.
The nine GOP candidates are environmental activist Leslie Davis, former House Minority Leader Rep. Marty Seifert, Rep. Paul Kohls, Rep. Tom Emmer, Sen. Mike Jungbauer, former lawmaker Bill Haas, former state auditor Pat Anderson, Sen. David Hann and Phil Herwig.
Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman also said at the event that he is considering a run for the governor's office, but will not make a decision until early next year.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)