Governor Pat Quinn has said he started the tea party movement with his inundation of state legislators and Governor Jim Thompson’s office with tea bags when the Illinois General Assembly conspired with Thompson to raise legislative salaries 40% in 1978.
Quinn, playing the role of activist-provocateur, convinced tens of thousands of people to mail tea bags, many used, to Springfield. How different that effort was to the showing up for an hour or more to demonstrate with a homemade sign.
Today’s TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Parties are not in his back pocket, even though they are not directed at state government.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady, the very narrow winner of the February Republican primary election, seems to have gained their support.
That’s my conclusion from hearing and seeing the crowd reaction this afternoon at Crystal Lake’s Route 14 demonstration.
With a comfortable temperature hovering 80 degrees and the wind blowing the many flags stiffly, Brady spoke the crowd with an underpowered public address system.
Because there was no central platform many people at the ends of the demonstration a half a block away didn’t even know Brady had already spoken.
“Bill Brady’s supposed to come,” one woman near the entrance to the old Walmart shopping center said after the Republican candidate had finished speaking.
By that time, people were gathering around him for photos, many asking him to autograph their poster.
One even wanted Brady to autograph his flag pole. He had too much respect for his American Flag to have Brady sign it, he indicated.
The Walmart parking lot has not been as filled since the store closed.
The vehicles, however, were on the Route 14 side, not near the closed store’s location. The lot was as full as when Walmart and Cub Food was open, however.
Pretty much all the spaces in the smaller parking lot north of the main one was occupied as well. The only empty spots were ones where those who arrived closer to three had left by the time I arrive about 4:30.
How many attended?
Twice as many as last year is my estimate.
I thought at least 500 were at the April 15, 2009, rally, but was told I was way low.
This time, I’m pretty sure at least 1,000 attended, although they were not all at the same time. Patriots United spokeswoman Mary Alger estimated 2,000. It will be interesting to see how m any people signed the organization’s petitions.
The Northwests Herald article’s number was 300, clearly as much of an understatement as its Grafton Town Meeting story’s estimate of 400 when over 700 verified registered voters signed in for the thrashing of the Township Trustees. I’d link to the Herald TEA Party story, but it had
disappeared from its web site by 11:20 when I was typing this sentence. Maybe the next version will mention that the Republican candidate for governor was in town; the first version didn’t.
Besides Republican Brady, Libertarian Party Comptroller candidate Julie Fox, a CPA, who was one of my running mates in 2002 and who led the Libertarian Party ticket almost getting the magic number of 5% that would have earned Libertarians “established party” status (while I got 2% running for Governor), spoke. She got less attention than she deserves because Brady was being mobbed for autographs.
Close to the six o’clock deadline set by the demonstration permit, Independent candidate for circuit court judge Sally Wiggins addressed the crowd.
Supporters were seeking signatures from crowd members.
She needs 4,200 good ones to get on the ballot. Usually candidates try to get twice as many people to sign their petitions as the law says they need because opposition candidates will challenge petitions to eliminate the chance that their candidate could lose.
Wiggens seeks to oppose Associate Judge Gordon Graham of Crystal Lake.
Before I arrived, I was told that 8th Congressional District GOP candidate Joe Walsh spoke.
As six o’clock rolled around, organizers urged demonstrators to leave because the city permit expired then.
This may have been the first advantage seen of having a closed Baker’s Square, in front of which most of the demonstration was held.