Republican congressman endorses Romney, incurs tea party wrath

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New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm announced Monday that he will be supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. On Monday evening, however, his tea party supporters — who believe they got him elected in 2010 — plan to protest in front of his Staten Island office.

According to one of the organizers, Eric Brakey, the protest took form when New York tea partiers discovered their congressman will be supporting the front-runner, who they believe least represents the ideals of the tea party.

“Tea Partiers from all camps (including supporters of Bachmann, Paul, Cain, and Perry) are rallying in protest of Congressman Grimm,” NYC Liberty HQ, one of the organizing groups, sent out in a blast notification about the protest. “We will be protesting Grimm’s endorsement tonight in front of his Staten Island office. We have a sound permit and speakers in attendance.”

Grimm endorsed Romney largely because he believes the Massachusetts Republican has the best odds of beating President Obama.

“The goal above all else should be winning the White House in 2012,” Grimm said, adding that there is “no candidate that you will agree on 100% of their positions.”

The New York Daily News reported that Grimm does not believe his endorsement of Romney will result in a loss of tea party support. (RELATED: Romney still leads New Hampshire, Cain rises to second)

Not so, according to Brakely, who told TheDC that the tea party sticks to its principles and, since Romney is the candidate most at odds with the tea party, they are showing Grimm displeasure at his endorsement. Brakely added that they expects up to 100 people to attend the protest.

“When there are several authentic Tea Party candidates in the presidential race, including Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry, many Tea Partiers are asking, ‘Has Congressman Grimm sold us out for the GOP establishment? Has he already been co-opted by Washington?’” the protest notification email noted.

The protest underlines the strained relationship that tea party supporters have with Romney, as well as the potential difficulties other “tea party” officeholders might have, should they decide to support him.

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