SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands — Mitt Romney won the Republican caucus in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Saturday, picking up nine delegates.

Romney won 87 percent or 740 of the 848 votes cast in the main islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota as the former Massachusetts governor seeks more secure footing as the front-runner in the race to become the GOP’s nominee for U.S. president.

Rick Santorum got 6 percent or 53 votes. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich got 3 percent each or 28 and 27 votes, respectively.

Romney’s victory comes after an endorsement by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial on the eve of the caucus. Fitial, who also is chairman of the commonwealth’s Republican Party, said he and the eight other delegates will support Romney at the Republican National Convention in Florida in August.

“I personally spoke to every leading candidate for delegate and I was so pleased to hear that each one of them was supporting Mitt Romney as well,” Fitial said in a written statement. “Governor Romney understands the important role the CNMI plays in the Pacific Region and is committed to helping us improve our economy the right way.”

He said he spoke to Romney on Friday, “and it was clear from that conversation he will not forget us here in the CNMI.”

Romney’s son Matt and wife Laurie campaigned for him in Saipan. Rarely, if ever, has any presidential campaign team made a stop in the U.S. territory.

Fitial said members of the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns sent him emails last year, but nothing came out of those communications.

Romney also picked up all nine delegates from Guam on Saturday. Republicans on the tiny Pacific island met at their state convention and backed Romney in a unanimous show of hands.

Convention co-chair Jerry Crisostomo said though Guam’s Republican National Convention delegates are technically uncommitted, all pledged to vote for the candidate chosen at the state convention.