Tea Party rallies supporters in East Bay

October 17, 2010 2:49:56 PM PDT
With just 16 days until the election, the campaigns are pulling out their big guns to energize supporters.

This weekend, former President Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain are all making appearances to support California candidates. In the East Bay, the Tea Party movement staged its own "Get out the Vote rally" in support of conservative Republican candidates.

The Tea Party packed the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton Saturday. The election is a little more than two week away and all parties are pushing hard to get voters on their side.

According to a recent poll, seven to nine percent of California voters are undecided. That is how a third of the people at the rally, including Emily Madden of Sunol, consider themselves. She went to figure out if the Tea Party is the party for her.

"Politically, I'm unmoved by this, but I think it's taught me a lot about how other parties should respond to this type of movement," she said.

According to SJSU Assistant Professor of Political Science Melinda Jackson, the Democrats should take notice.

"The Democratic Party has a little disadvantage this year in that the Republicans, spurred on by the Tea Party, have been kind of more enthusiastic. There's a lot of energy on that side. They've been rallying their troops," she said.

Tea Party candidates used the rally to get their personal messages out and meet with voters, but the politician considered to be the poster child of the Tea Party movement was not present.

Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was in California over the weekend. Tea Party officials said they asked her to speak at the event in Pleasanton, but she declined. They said she had a prior commitment in Orange County.

Palin spoke in Anaheim and was in San Jose on Thursday, but the big draw has not necessarily been the names. It has been more about a feeling.

Ron Surma of Fremont says, "The Tea Party has the energy to maybe get some Republicans voted in this year."

Democrats have controlled California's legislature since 1996.


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