(Reuters) - Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney takes part in the New Hampshire primary election on Tuesday in the race for the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in November.

Here are some facts about him.

* Romney, 64, has remained at the front of the pack among the Republican candidates in his second campaign to win the party's nomination. But he has not been embraced by Republicans as the clear favorite. His rivals have jumped into the lead for weeks at a time. He won last week's Iowa caucuses by the tiny margin of 8 votes.

* He is a fifth-generation Mormon whose forebears were involved in the religious movement from the mid-19th century. Romney spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary in the 1960s, and speaks French. Some Christian groups and voters don't consider Mormonism a form of Christianity.

* As governor of Massachusetts, Romney instituted statewide healthcare reform that became a model for Obama's national policy. Romney has defended the state law while calling for the repeal of Obama's federal version, a tricky balancing act.

* Romney, a former venture capitalist, has centrist Republican proposals to cut corporate taxes, reduce federal regulations and cut spending. But he is seen by some as out of step with ordinary Americans. During one Republican debate Romney offered to bet $10,000 in a back-and-forth with Texas Governor Rick Perry.

* Multimillionaire Romney has been a strong fundraiser - with more money than any of the other Republican candidates. If the primary contest becomes drawn out, his extensive funds could help him outlast someone like former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has raised much less.

* Animal rights groups criticized Romney during the 2008 campaign for an incident in 1983 when he drove 12 hours to Canada from Boston on vacation with the family dog in a crate strapped to the roof of their car.

(Reporting by Lily Kuo and Deborah Charles; Editing by Alistair Bell and Stacey Joyce)