The Tea Party Express may have planned a party, but the Sept. 3 stop in Avon proved to attract a less-than-stellar turnout for what was Ohio's only stop.
Victoria Jackson didn’t show. The Republican presidential candidates didn’t show. The television cameras didn’t show, nor did the projected crowd of 5,000 arrive at .
That didn’t stop speakers on the bus tour from enthusiastically touting their message of lowered national debt, reduced government spending and opposition to taxes.
Approximately 500 people, including volunteers, vendors and Tea Party Express people spent a few hours on Saturday at the rally, which began winding down by 6:30 p.m. Speakers and singers promoted the group’s message and conservative values while taking more than a few shots at Barack Obama and leading Democrats.
Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who is expected to challenge Sherrod Brown’s seat for the U.S. Senate in 2012, spoke briefly, but mentioned Brown, a resident of Avon, and Obama repeatedly.
“People like Barack Obama, Sherrod Brown are taking this country at 100 mph into a brick wall,” Mandel said, who added that Brown was to “to the left of Obama on Obamacare” and ranked more liberal than Socialist Party Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “He needs to be voted out of office.”
Debbie Lee, the Gold Star Mom whose son Marc, a Navy Seal, was killed in Iraq, honored those in the military. She told the story of her son’s death and told the crowd to make sure “our freedoms that our men and women are fighting for in Iraq aren’t taken away.”
The drew polite applause for the most part. Claver Kamau-Imani, a conservative black Republican who spearheads Raging Elephants, managed to motivate the crowd before the 5 p.m. arrival of the main speakers.
Randy Newman, a main organizer for the Avon stop, said it took more than a month to secure the location, and was pleased the event went smoothly. Newman said security was asked to remove one individual who was filming for an anti-Tea Party item.
The tour will continue across the United States through Sept. 12, ending in Florida with a CNN debate.