Posted by me (Paulie) in comments on a previous post; slightly edited:
I attended three tea parties [April 15, 2010] in south Alabama.
I was petitioning to put the Constitution Party on the ballot for Congress.
[I’m a Libertarian, but] the LP candidate always runs as a write in, and neither he nor the state election officials can tell me how many votes he got in any year except 2002, when we had ballot access; additionally, he is rabidly pro-war in the middle east, which I greatly dislike in a federal candidate. The Constitution Party recruited David Walter (http://www.walterforcongress.com/) and no other alternative party or independent candidate is seriously pursuing ballot access in the district.
A) The Constitution Party is in my view by far the closest to the views of most Tea Partiers than any other party, including the Libertarians and Republicans,
B) As I pointed out to people, the Democrats are not participating in this election and we will have a one-party election without the 5,000+ valid signatures Alabama requires in this congressional district (8-9k raw to be safe),
C) Incumbent Congressman Jo Bonner (very likely to win the Republican primary) voted for the “bailout” (AKA ripoff), and his Republican primary opponent Peter Gounares (http://www.gounaresforcongress.com/) enthusiastically signed our petition,
Numerous people refused (some emphatically) to sign our petitions, signed with great skepticism, and some came back to scratch their names off. Many signed *ONLY* because the Democrats are not in this race.
I still managed to get 205 signatures and some enthusiastic comments, but Republican herd mentality is prevalent at tea parties.