Days before the South Carolina GOP presidential primary, the first South Carolina statewide Tea Party convention was a necessary stop on the campaign trail.
Eventual nominee Mitt Romney did not show up, but Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and other conservatives spoke to a standing-only crowd. Most of the Tea Party groups endorsed Gingrich and were bolstered by his win of the Palmetto State primary.
There’s a different mood as Tea Parties across the state gather again, after a resounding presidential election loss and the inevitable progression of “Obamacare,” anathema to anyone in these conservative, Constitution-focused groups.
“This convention is an attempt to unmask all of this deception and deceit that has been portrayed on American people. We mean to grab them by the shoulders and shake ‘em!” says the Myrtle Beach Tea Party’s Joe Dugan, the event’s organizer.
He says the goal of the convention is to educate members by bringing in authors and activists from across the country. See full agenda here.
“More importantly, our high-profile line-up of speakers will offer real, pragmatic and common sense answers that will begin the process of rescuing this nation,” says Dugan.
Tea Parties nationwide are voicing their frustration over the “fiscal cliff” compromise, saying it does not cut spending drastically enough and adds tax revenue.
SC GOP Chairman Chad Connelly has maintained a consistent rapport with SC Tea Party leaders, including giving a speech last year’s convention. He told The Daily Beast that the activists’ power will be fueled by this frustration.
“If you think 2010 was the Tea Party Congress, just wait until 2014. You will see people even more angry and up in arms. I don’t think we have seen nothing yet,” he told the online publication.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3rd) and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5th), Rep. Tom Rice (SC-7th) will speak to the group, along with Gov. Nikki Haley and SC Attorney General Alan Wilson.
Other speakers include senior editor of The American Spectator John Fund, Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips, and national Tea Party co-founder Jenny Beth Martin.