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A small but enthusiastic crowd greeted a host of Republican candidates during last Wednesday night’s Tea Party gathering at Eagle Lake.
The largest crowd gathered to listen to Senate candidate Rand Paul, who is seeking his party’s nomination to fill the seat now occupied by Sen. Jim Bunning, who is not seeking re-election.
“I was disappointed we didn’t have more people, but there wasn’t a lot of time to get the news out,” said Lawrenceburg resident Kathy Linzy, who is the local chairperson for Paul’s campaign. “But [Paul’s campaign manager] David Adams said they were very pleased with the size of the crowd. It’s not so much the size of the crowd. It’s the energy.”
Tea Party events grew in size and stature last year in response to the national health care debate and other policy initiatives prompted by the Obama administration. During Wednesday’s event, about 100 people listened while a host of Republicans gunning for Ben Chandler’s (D-Versailles) seat in Congress opened the event with speeches that included a common theme of “send Ben Chandler home for good.”
It also included an appearance by Mica Sims, a 25-year-old responsible for organizing Tea Parties in Fayette County during the past year.
Paul, whose father Ron sought the Republican nomination for president in 2008, exited his tour bus to a round of cheers and spent nearly 30 minutes addressing what turned out to be about 100 people gathered in front of Ol’ Harvey’s Eats at Eagle Lake.
While listening to his sons Duncan and Robert play a couple of bluegrass tunes before his speech, Paul said he has learned plenty during his bus tour of Kentucky, including the importance of spending time in small communities such as Lawrenceburg and listening to what people have to say.
“The primary process is still pretty small,” said Paul, who is competing for Bunning’s seat against Secretary of State Trey Grayson. “There’s a lot of one-on-one out there and getting to know the people.”
During his speech, Paul railed against deficit spending in Washington, DC, saying the federal government has to be brought under control.
“We as a country have been living beyond our means,” Paul said. “Now we’re living beneath our means. The system is broken ... we’ve picked the pig clean.”
Although the event drew limited local response, it did catch the eye of a New York Times reporter and photographer, who were apparently following Paul’s bus tour. A story on the newspaper’s website included Paul’s stop here, along with a photo of him speaking on front of Ol’ Harvey’s.
Linzy said she was happy with how the event turned out, even if people here weren’t carrying signs bashing Obama and other Democrats.
“Even the real big Tea Parties are very respectful,” she said. “It’s a good feeling you get when you’re in a group of like-minded people who feel the same way about what is happening to our country. You get a strong sense of country and freedom and what our country used to be.”
E-mail Ben Carlson at email@example.com.