Tax Day is important to the Tea Parties, not as a celebration, but as reminder of why many of their groups began in 2009. Many of today’s Tea Parties are rooted in the rallies held that year to protest tax money spent on bank bailouts, stimulus payouts and the policies of President Barack Obama.
Since then, South Carolina’s Tea Parties have grown into a politically mobile movement, targeting candidates and legislation for defeat. For some, the call for rallies has quietened as they change tactics.
The Columbia Tea Party has not planned an event for this year. Last year, the Columbia Tea Party hosted then-presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and Gov. Nikki Haley and only about 300 people attended.
“We think that the time for rallies are over,” Vickie Styles of the Charleston Tea Party told South Carolina Radio Network today.
Cathy Heitzenrater, a Tea Party leader in the Greenwood area said her group “may do something July 4.”
Joe Dugan, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party and a coordinator of the SC Tea Party Patriots, says rallies are effective for his groups. He cites the recent two-day Tea Party convention the week of the GOP Presidential Primary as a success, with more than 600 statewide members attending.
“The Tax Day rally has evolved somewhat. To address the changing issues in our country. The tax protest was facing one issue…there are more things to be addressed now, ” he says.
Dugan says this weekend, they want the rally to highlight the state’s new 7th Congressional District. The Myrtle Beach group is holding what they are calling the area’s first non-partisan event and have invited all thirteen candidates to speak. This is part of a larger rally taking place at a city park Saturday.
Eight Republican candidates for the seat will appear: André Bauer, Renee Culler, Katherine Jenerette, Jay Jordan, Jim Mader, Chad Prosser, Tom Rice, and Randal Wallace. Two Democrats will be there: Parnell Diggs and Ted Vick. The group plans a straw poll for the congressional race.
State Treasurer Curtis Loftis is giving the keynote speech, ”State Financial Security.”
The Florence Tea Party is holding its 4th annual tax day tea party in conjunction with a gun and knife show.
Speakers include State Attorney General Alan Wilson; Treasurer Curtis Loftis; Fair Tax leader John Steinberger and State GOP Chairman Chad Connelly.