Tea Party Rally Supports GOP Senators Who 'Did the Right Thing'
As Tuesday's recall elections near, nearly 300 people turn out for spirited Tea Party Express event in 8th Senate District.
During a spirited rally in a Ozaukee County park Saturday, Tea Party Express organizers implored hundreds of supporters to take the conservative movement to the polls Tuesday and support the six Republican senators being targeted in the high-profile recall elections.
Under a brilliant blue sky in Thiensville Village Park, about 275 Tea Party supporters were galvanized by a half dozen speakers, patriotic music and flag waving during the hour-long event.
"I am all jazzed up!" said Andrea Shea King, blogger and radio host, as the crowd roared. "Americans are here with you. We are supporting you and we are praying for you."
Related: Check out archive of live blog from rally
Most of the speakers focused on fiscal policy issues and public unions, which have garnered attention after Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-led state Legislature successfully ended collective bargaining for most public unions in the state this spring.
"This country should not be run by union bosses. It should be run by we the people because they work for us," said Amy Kremer, co-chairman of the Tea Party Express. "Politicians are usually recalled because they don't do their job. These people in this state stood strong for fiscal responsibility, they did the right thing and now they are being unfairly targeted."
The Tea Party Express, the most recognizable and influential of the various tea party groups around the nation, is holding nine rallies throughout Wisconsin on behalf of the six Republican state senators who are targeted for recall in Tuesday's elections. Earlier in the day, the group held a rally in Kenosha.
The Thiensville rally took place in the 8th Senate District, where incumbent Sen. Alberta Darling is being challenged by Democratic state Rep. Sandy Pasch.
Although Darling was campaigning in nearby Mequon on Saturday and was invited to the rally, she did not attend.
In addition to the six senators who face recall elections on Tuesday, two incumbent Democratic senators also are being targeted for recall in Aug. 16 elections.
If Democrats are able to win three recall races on Tuesday and hold serve during the two later recalls, they will take the majority from their Republican counterparts in the Senate and likely attempt to reverse many of the conservative measures passed during the last six months.
"With the changing world we have now, I don't know what is going to happen Tuesday," Tea Party supporter Dick Cammack, a member of the Ozaukee Patriot organization, said before the rally began. "I hope that they win; I pray that they win. If they don't, then we're going to be in really bad shape."
The impetus for the recalls was the Republicans' support of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, which eliminated many bargaining rights for most public employees.
"They made it about collective bargaining, but it's about collective bullying we are not going to be bullied any more," speaker Vince Schmuki told the crowd, referring to the Democrats.
The rally was held in the sprawling park with picturesque scenes of picnickers, boaters and children swinging in playgrounds in the far backdrop.
"We are here trying to stop the destruction of the country," said Bruce Hawkins, a Tea Party supporter who came from the Detroit area to take part in the rally.
Unlike a similar rally Friday in Hudson, WI, where about 100 protesters mixed it up with a couple of hundred Tea Party supporters, Saturday's event was devoid of confrontation.
Five protesters circled the pavilion where the rally was held, but they went largely unnoticed until some Tea Party supporters began following them, attempting to shield their signs from the crowd.
"I came here to express a different about opinion," Joe Bockhorst, a protester from Shorewood. "We are not going away, and people care about what happened in the state."
After the rally, Tea Party Express organizers hopped back on their touring bus to check their e-mail and blog about the event. More than a dozen organizers are riding on the bus, which resembles a rock band coach on the inside.
Before the bus rolled out of the parking lot, a staffer boarded with a case of Coors Light beer to the delight of thirsty and tired Tea Party organizers.