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A prominent New Hampshire tea party group has snagged a handful of likely Republican presidential candidates to headline its annual tax day rally.
The New Hampshire chapter of Americans for Prosperity will host a state House gathering Friday at 11:30 a.m. featuring former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer. Pawlenty, Cain and Roemer have already announced the formation of presidential exploratory committees, while Santorum is expected to follow suit in the near future.
“This year’s line-up includes a who’s who of potential and confirmed presidential and gubernatorial candidates as well as federal and state elected officials and local activists. It promises to be an historic and exciting event for all in attendance,” said Corey Lewandowski, state director for the New Hampshire arm of Americans for Prosperity.
Pawlenty is the highest-profile presidential contender to have been courting the tea party vote in recent months. It's clear that the grass-roots conservative movement offers considerable energy, coming off huge Republican gains last fall. It's unclear, however, how popular the tea party movement is among New Hampshire's independent voters, who are free to vote in the GOP's first-in-the-nation primary.
Friday's speaking program also includes New Hampshire freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte; Ovide Lamontagne, who nearly defeated Ayotte in last year's GOP Senate primary; recent gubernatorial candidate John Stephen and state House Speaker Bill O'Brien.