How big an impact will the Tea Party movement have on Alabama’s June primary for Republicans?
It will be significant if you consider the showing by Republican hopefuls for governor at Tea Party events throughout the state.
Judge Roy Moore and Dr. Robert Bentley (we can use titles and nicknames in this blog) appear midday at the Trussville Tea Party where as many as 4,000 are expected. Bill Johnson says he’ll be there, too.
Moore is the keynote speaker at noon in Trussville, then travels to Cullman where he, Bentley and Tim James speak for a Tea Party event starting at 4pm.
Campaign staff say logistics can be tricky on a day like Thursday where candidates want to make the maximum number of appearances.
“Everybody wants the judge… these are his people,” Moore staffer Suzelle Josey tells me.
Moore was a featured speaker at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville in February. Watch a February interview on Good Day Alabama shortly after the Nashville event at 3:43 into the video.
James appears to have been effective in reaching out to Tea Party groups, as well.
“We got to the dance early,” Tim James spokesman Brett Hall tells me.
From the beginning of the movement, Hall says, James has courted Tea Party folks for his campaign.
In addition to the Cullman appearance, James will speak at the Rainy Day Patriots event in Hoover where Sarah Palin’s father and brother are scheduled to appear. James and 6th district congressional candidate Stan Cooke landed stage appearances as sponsors for Chuck Health and Chuck Jr.
A campaign spokesman for Bradley Byrne says “absolutely” when asked if the candidate will be reaching out to Tea Party events Thursday.
Derek Trotter says Byrne will attend the Montgomery Tea Party, where national conservative activist Alan Keyes is a featured speaker. Byrne will also attend the Wetumpka Tea Party Thursday evening. Byrne is not scheduled to speak at those events.
Organizers of events including Hoover, Montgomery and Trussville say they will send the message Thursday that they are flexing political muscle in state and local races.
“There is a lot of power in numbers,” Prattville Tea Partier Dawn Barben says.
*NOTE: Moore spokeswoman Suzelle Josey told me Moore was “keynote” for the Trussville event. In my conversations with Grace Bush of the event organizers, she did describe him as speaking in the capacity of “a judge” and not a candidate for governor. As for the depiction of this year’s model of the Tax Day Tea Party, Bush did not dispute it as a chance to “flex the Tea Party’s political muscle in an election year in state and local elections.” Those involved with events in Montgomery and Hoover did indeed express the movement was going in that direction.
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Filed under: Elections