Instead, activists in the Granite State have divided their loyalties — and even seem resigned to seeing their sworn enemy Mitt Romney win his second straight victory…

Ryun said the movement’s “highly individualistic, decentralized” nature might be better suited to local, state or congressional campaigns. “It’s like herding cats,” he said. “It just doesn’t move cohesively as one unit yet, and who knows if it ever will. Maybe by 2016.”

In the meantime, though, Ryun and other tea party organizers concede that some in the movement set unrealistically high expectations for the presidential race. Activists were disappointed when the campaigns of movement darlings Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann collapsed and that of Rick Perry’s floundered.