Tea Party Gearing Up for GOP Convention

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

Vassar resident Judy Neblock never expected to be a political junkie.

"The last thing I wanted in the world," she says.

Eighteen months later, she's the leader of her local tea party and a delegate at Saturday's GOP convention.

"I feel like it's an assignment from God," Neblock says.

On Friday, Neblock and hundreds of fellow like-minded Americans gathered at the Capitol City Baptist Church in Holt for a pre-convention caucus. It was a last minute chance for tea partiers to get to know the candidates running for office.

But it was just as important for the hopefuls to reach out to their conservative voters.

"The tea party is going to play a pivotal role in this year's election," says Secretary of State candidate Cameron Brown. "They are going to be a key to our victory in the fall."

"Our message uniquely resonates with the tea party members, and we're excited to win their support," says Secretary of State candidate Paul Scott.

The Republican party says it welcomes new opinions. A GOP spokesman tells News 10 tea partiers make up nearly one third of convention delegates. But Gene Clem from the Michigan Tea Party Alliance makes it clear --- the group stands apart from the GOP.

"They don't seem to deliver," says Clem. "So we've come along as a watchdog to make sure it's delivered by somebody."

Tea partiers say it's crucial to stand united around the best representative.

"If we divide our vote between the 2 or 3 that are very conservative, then the least conservative person might win because we've divided," Neblock says.

But come January, these voters want to make sure politicians know who's boss.

"We will help to elect you, but when you're elected, we will watch you like a hawk," Clem says.

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