Tea Party helps Hudson rally Salisbury Republicans
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY - Just six days away from the 2012 general election, the latest Tea Party Express bus tour rolled into Rowan County to rally support for conservative candidates.
Richard Hudson, Republican candidate for North Carolina's 8th Congressional District, arrived in the bus Wednesday morning at the front of the Republican Party headquarters in Salisbury.
He greeted about two dozen supporters and encouraged them to keep up their efforts to get out the vote.
"I'm honored to have the endorsement of the Tea Party Express," Hudson said. "This bus has criss-crossed the country working for our freedom."
The Tea Party Express, based in California, was founded in 2009 and travels to different states to rally local tea party movements. To mobilize volunteers at its various stops, the bus is equipped with 15 phone banking stations.
But those stations weren't active Wednesday morning because of time constraints, said tour communications director Andy Surabian.
"I really vehemently believe that this is 21st century campaigning," Surabian said. "One of the criticisms of the conservative movement is that we haven't learned to adapt to technology, and this is an example of conservatives on the brink of new technology."
He said the organization decided to hold a rally with Hudson in the 8th district, and the candidate himself chose Salisbury as the location.
"In Rowan County, we have a real strong tea party organization and also a real strong party organization," Hudson said. "They're doing a remarkable job here."
During his speech to supporters, Hudson spoke in favor of presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a "limited, Constitutional government."
He said President Barack Obama's policies are "crushing jobs" by creating an atmosphere of uncertainty for businesses. The president will also put the nation in danger, Hudson said, if he ignores the military's needs.
"There's going to be a day of reckoning for the reckless monetary policy of the Obama administration," Hudson said. "We need someone in Congress and in the White House who's willing to change that."
Wednesday's event took place at the headquarters of the Rowan County Republican Party on South Main Street. That office is also home to the N.C. Victory Center, where volunteers work to help elect Republican candidates up and down the ticket.
Greg Edds, chair of the Rowan County Republican Party, followed Hudson's speech with a reminder that "we've got 20,000 calls to make this week."
Darlene Blount, who helped found the Rowan Tea Party Patriots, praised the good working relationship between her group and the local Republican Party. The tea party is not a political party itself and does not claim a partisan affiliation, but it supports conservative policies and candidates.
She said she's glad that the bus tour stopped in Salisbury, because it validates the importance of rural counties in the election process.
"I think that speaks a lot to the importance of smaller communities," Blount said. "We were very pleased, because it is the result of the great support that the tea party has across the country."
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.