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Tea Party Convention Is Canceled

New York Times – September 24, 2010, 11:04 am

By KATE ZERNIKE

The Tea Party is off.

At least, the National Tea Party Unity Convention that was being planned for mid-October in Las Vegas is off. It was supposed to be a repeat of the convention in Nashville last February, which drew 600 “delegates” (and almost as many reporters) and an adoring audience for Sarah Palin, the keynote speaker.

Sponsored by Tea Party Nation, a social networking site, the convention was supposed to emphasize Tea Party groups working together — a contrast to the convention in February, which was plagued by infighting among groups, with sponsors and speakers dropping out right up until its opening hours. Organizers chose Las Vegas not least because it is the center of the Senate race that Tea Party activists would most dearly love to win: Sharron Angle, a Republican supported by Tea Party groups, is challenging Harry Reid, the leader of the Democratic majority.

Barbee Kinnison, a Tea Party activist in Las Vegas who had been helping organize the convention, sent an e-mail to supporters saying that it was with “deep sorrow” that she had to announce “the convention is just not going to happen.”

Tea Party Nation still draws scorn from some other Tea Party groups, which have raised eyebrows at asking people to spend more than $200 to attend a convention, so it was not clear what this said about the strength of the movement. Tea Party Patriots, a large umbrella for about 2,700 local Tea Party groups nationwide, had criticized the media attention on the convention in February, saying it was not a real representation of Tea Party activism.

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