Posted at 02:54 PM ET, 12/12/2011

Mitt Romney wins a rare tea party endorsement from Tom Thomson in New Hampshire

Mitt Romney’s latest New Hampshire endorsement comes from an unusual source: an influential member of the tea party.

Tea party activist Tom Thomson said in New Hampshire on Monday that Romney was his choice for the GOP presidential nomination.

“Washington desperately needs an outsider with business skills like Mitt Romney,” Thomson said in a statement.

Thomson, a tree farmer and son of former New Hampshire governor Mel Thomson, is an influential conservative activist in the Granite State. He is the honorary chairman of the Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire chapter and organizes annual tea party rallies at the New Hampshire State House on tax day.

The endorsement is something of a coup for the Romney team, which hasn’t had much luck wooing tea partiers.

Although Thomson described Romney as an “outsider,” many in the tea party see him as the kind of “establishment” Republican candidate they’re working against.

The former Massachusetts governor is outright reviled by some tea partiers for the universal health-care legislation he passed as governor of Massachusetts.

In August, many tea party groups pulled out of a planned Tea Party Express bus tour after it was announced that Romney would participate.

Brendan Steinhauser, spokesman for FreedomWorks, one of the groups that pulled out of the bus tour, called Romney, “the antithesis of what we stand for.”

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By Beth Marlowe  |  02:54 PM ET, 12/12/2011

 
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