Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has picked up some early support from two tea party groups in New Jersey.
The Bay Shore Tea Party group and Jersey Shore Tea Party announced Wednesday at a news conference in Middletown, N.J., that their combined 1,500 members voted for Cain by an "overwhelming" margin.
"Our groups have researched the platforms of the various Republican candidates and came to the conclusion Herman Cain is the one candidate who represents the values of the tea party movement," said Barbara Gonzalez, of the Bay Shore Tea Party.
Gonzalez said no one in her group voted for the front-runner Mitt Romney. Mark Falzon of Jersey Shore Tea Party said Romney got a handful of votes from his members.
While Falzon said he didn't think Romney was the best candidate, he indicated he could vote for him.
"In view of the condition of the country and the direction of the country, if Romney gained the nomination, I would support him," Falzon said.
Gonzalez singled out Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan as a reason for supporting the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza.
But she acknowledged it has been controversial among the Republican candidates because it likely would raise taxes on many middle-class taxpayers.
Another member of her group said it is intended only as a step toward a more fair tax system.
New Jersey comes late in the primary-voting process, with its contest in June. But tea party members are hopeful he will campaign in the state.
"It's in the works," said Gonzalez. "I think he'll be here."
Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY