Sunday, December 05, 2010

South Carolina Tea Party Groups Organizing Statewide

About 30 groups, or roughly half of the state's self-titled liberty movement, met in Columbia on Saturday to discuss a formal affiliation with the national Tea Party Patriots organization. Local groups would be free to set their own agendas but would have access to the national group's research, advice and resources, such as its weekly Monday conference calls.

About three-quarters of the groups at the meeting said they were interested in participating in the new umbrella group. The State newspaper was invited to attend the meeting but could not report on conversations during the five-hour event.

State tea party groups have struggled with growing pains since the first Greenville rally early last year, with leaders disagreeing about whether to endorse candidates or how closely to work with the S.C. Republican Party. Those disagreements left some bad blood among the groups. And some activists have been suspicious of the motives and funding of national tea party groups.