Tea Party Nation convention in Vegas postponed
By Amy Gardner
Tea Party Nation, the conservative organizer that put on the first big tea party convention in Nashville earlier this year, has postponed its upcoming convention in Las Vegas, which had been scheduled for mid-July.
Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, said the group will try to reschedule the convention in October. He said many activists were interested in attending, but many also said they would not be able to come in July, when Las Vegas is likely to be baking in 100-degree-plus weather. (On Tuesday, Vegas was expected to hit a high of 106 degrees. But remember, it's a dry heat!)
Phillips would not say how many people signed up to attend the convention, to which he'd hoped to attract as many as 2,000 participants. He said it would be inaccurate to say that the convention was being canceled due to lack of interest. Among the speakers who had been booked for the event were Andrew Breitbart, Lou Dobbs, Sharron Angle, Laura Ingraham and Tom Tancredo.
"The interest was there, but not for this particular window," Phillips said. "We looked at the ultimate goal, which was to drive up unity and turnout in advance of the election. Coming up closer to the election, we'll just have more of an impact."
The group's Nashville convention drew criticism both inside and outside the tea party movement in part because the cost to participate was high ($549, plus fees, hotel and transportation) and in part because of the exorbitant speaking fee given to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin ($100,000).
Another tea party organizer, FreedomWorks, chose not to participate in the July convention in part because of that controversy. It is unknown whether Freedomworks will partner with Tea Party Nation if the convention is held in October.
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