2016 SCTP Convention - Jan 16-18th
Guest speakers and Interviews
Filmed by: The Villages Conservative Media
Donald Trump, Ted Cruz Woo Primary Voters at South Carolina Tea Party Conference Neither candidate raised the birth or values question, signaling race may hinge on voter turnout at primary
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Saturday. PHOTO: RANDALL HILL/REUTERS
Jan. 16, 2016 9:54 p.m. ET
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.—Conservatives in early-voting South Carolina cheered Donald Trump for his wealth and Ted Cruz for his feistiness at a rowdy Tea Party conference on Saturday, with many saying they don’t much care where Mr. Cruz was born or whether Mr. Trump has “New York values.”
Many of the 1,600 conservatives crowded into a sold-out convention hall here said they watched Thursday’s GOP presidential primary debate and were aware of the leading candidates’ most recent lines of attack.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz, a Texas senator, each addressed the convention for 40 minutes but neither candidate raised the birth or values question, a signal that the race may instead hinge on their ability to turn out voters in South Carolina’s Feb. 20 primary.
Still, Mr. Trump’s broad network of supporters was on display at Saturday’s South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention.
More than 200 motorcyclists stood by their bikes, waving Trump signs, as Mr. Trump’s caravan of black SUVs pulled up to the convention center.
“Did you see that? He waved at me,” said George Durica, a 65-year-old retired steelworker. “He’s a working man’s man. The man worked hard for what he got. I think he could do that for America.”
Patricia Price said she likes Mr. Trump because of his plain-spoken manner and his success in the business world. “The political class feathers its own nests,” said Ms. Price, 65 years old, who sells refurbished furniture. “Trump’s the only person whose nest is already feathered.”
Mr. Cruz’s backers touted his experience fighting in Congress, including his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
“Look at the fruits of what Cruz has done,” said Victor Dabney, a retired U.S. Army helicopter pilot. Mr. Dabney said he is cool on Mr. Trump because of his past relationships with Democrats and his lack of a political record. “I think if people will step out of their trance and stop letting someone tickle their ears, they would choose differently.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) speaks to guests at the 2016 South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention on Saturday. PHOTO: SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGESMessrs. Trump and Cruz are leading the national polls, with Mr. Trump’s support at 33% and Mr. Cruz’s at 20% among Republican primary voters, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Thursday. The poll shows, though, that Mr. Trump may be vulnerable to Mr. Cruz, losing 43% to 51% in a head-to-head matchup.
Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Cruz might be ineligible to serve as president because he was born in Canada. Mr. Cruz’s mother is an American citizen and his father, a Cuban immigrant. Mr. Cruz said his status is clear and said Mr. Trump agreed until Mr. Cruz starting rising in polls.
Mr. Cruz has questioned Mr. Trump’s “New York values” as socially liberal and materialistic, prompting Mr. Trump to say New Yorkers are people of great heart, as shown in the response to 9/11.
Mr. Dabney, the Cruz backer, said Mr. Cruz’s birthplace should be a nonissue, and he wished Mr. Cruz had never mentioned Mr. Trump’s New York values.
Cruz campaign volunteer Penry Gustafson said she loves visiting New York and chalks Mr. Cruz’s “New York values” comment up to a weak moment. “It wasn’t the nicest thing to say,” she said.
Ms. Gustafson said she hopes Mr. Cruz will put the citizenship issue to rest, perhaps by seeking a Senate resolution affirming his citizenship as Arizona Sen. John McCain did in 2008. Mr. McCain was born in Panama to a military family. “Perhaps [Cruz] needs a resolution to get people to shut up,” she said.
Mr. Durica, the motorcyclist who backs Mr. Trump, said Mr. Cruz is a good man who is eligible to run as far as he knows. “Trump and Cruz will be a hell of a ticket.”
Tea Party voters represent a significant bloc in South Carolina, which holds an important nominating contest after the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1 and the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9.
Convention organizer Joe Dugan said all the GOP candidates were invited to the convention. Relatively moderate Republican candidates like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declined, he said.
They would likely not have received a warm reception, Mr. Dugan said, as Tea Party activists feel duped after helping Republicans reach political dominance, especially in Congress.
“They kept saying, when you give us the House, we’ll do something, when you give us the Senate, we’ll do something,” Mr. Dugan said. “We gave them both and they’ve done nothing.”
Jan 16-18 2016 SCTP Convention
Watch Trump & Cruz Presentation
Cruz begins at 27:00
Trump begins at 58:15
Filmed by: The Villages Conservative Media
Includes presentations by
Lt. Col. Bill Cowan(retired USMC)
Peter Schweizer, President of Government Accountability Institute