Cain picks up endorsement of former New Hampshire GOP chairman

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"This was a very difficult decision," he said to the New Hampshire Union Leader. "I really, really cannot stand in the way any longer. People were looking at me as an obstacle to party unity and I don't want that."

GOP leaders were upset that Kimball has allowed a Libertarian Party candidate on a ballot, and fired a former party executive director.

But Kimball, who ran for governor of the state in 2010, retains a loyal following among Tea Partiers. Before his resignation, members of the group rallied outside in period costumes.

Cain hopes that his support, coupled with a strong debate performance Tuesday night that primarily focused on his economic vision, could help elevate him in the primary. He said Wednesday that he would soon hire more staffers in the state.

"I will be back in New Hampshire a lot over the next several weeks," Cain said.