October 8, 2010
More than 2,000 people gathered in Richmond for the largest tea party convention in U.S. history to date.
"I think, in a way, we're showing our strength with numbers," said Carole Thorpe, chair of the Jefferson Area Tea Party.
It's the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation's first convention, a weekend of discussion, seminars and speakers like Gov. Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Sen. George Allen.
Tea party members call it an important event for those who want change as midterm elections approach.
"If we choose to gather and pool our resources, we can pull off an event like this," Thorpe said. "And certainly, if we can do it in a convention, we can do it in other ways that are even more politically active."
Thorpe and a few dozen members of the local tea party made the trip to Richmond. They're just a small part of a massive movement hitting the country.
"The thousands and thousands of people involved in the tea party movement, it's not just about their small town anymore, it's about the entire state of Virginia, and it's certainly translating through the country."
For Thorpe, the convention is also a chance for reflection.
"I have a bit of a reservation about the tea party movement becoming the very thing we're rallying against," which would be becoming a mirror of the Republican or Democratic party, she said.
"We're a little guarded in how much we're going to get involved until we can kind of see what's going to be happening with this," Thorpe said.
She shares the sentiments of many tea party members.
"I'm going to try to get a feel myself for what the energy is that's propelling this movement," tea party member Robert Owens said.
The convention wraps up Saturday afternoon after a keynote address from Lou Dobbs.