County GOP Picnic Draws Assortment of Candidates and Enthusiasts

Quite a few 912 and Tea Party members were sighted among the 120 or so attendees at the PBCGOP picnic today in John Prince Park, in spite of the competition from the Tea Party Convention in Daytona and the AFP Conference in DC. The food was good and the networking was worth the visit, but the program was somewhat chaotic.

In addition to the local luminaries – Congressmen Allen West and Tom Rooney, Florida House members Bill Hager and Pat Rooney, and former Senator and candidate George LeMieux, we were joined by Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and a surrogate for Texas Governor Rick Perry, his son Griffin.

Senator Santorum gave a rousing speech (in my opinion), focused on some of the issues that have been minimized in the campaign so far. These include the importance of the family in restoring America to greatness, and the importance of bringing back viable manufacturing to this country to restore the position of the middle class. Unfortunately, by the time the Senator spoke much of the crowd had drifted away and many of those who were left continued talking among themselves and hardly paid attention to the speech. This seemed rude to me, but when the Senator had finished it got worse. The speakers that followed him had to shout to be heard and were ignored by most of the crowd. If this is the way the Republican Party of Palm Beach treats its candidates then we are in for a rough 2012 indeed. Nothing was done by the organizers to restore decorum to the gathering.

This was a shame as two very interesting candidates for the seat being vacated by Bill Snyder (FH82) introduced themselves near the end. Calvin Turnquist and MaryLynn Magar are new on the scene and both seem to have a lot to offer. We also got to see Anna Trujillo who is running for Ted Deutch’s CD19 seat, and the candidates for County Commission district 1, Hal Valeche and Laura Hanley, and Senate 25 candidate Mike Lameyer. Others who were present, including Albert Key and Karen Harrington did not speak, probably because it got to the point that very few were even listening.

Besides the rudeness of the crowd, another troubling thing was the way Joe Budd was refused the opportunity to tell the crowd about the Herman Cain PBC Convention Center event in a little more than a week. “NO SURROGATES” said chairman Dinerstein. Interesting – what was Griffen Perry, chopped liver? I guess there must be a rule exception for relatives of candidates.

Herman Cain is in town on 11/16 for several events, including a $50 fundraiser at the Convention Center expected to bring out the grassroots volunteers before he goes over to the island for the big bucks. This might have been of interest to the attendees, and the appearance of any Presidential candidate in Palm Beach County should be noted. “NO EXCEPTIONS”, we have to stay neutral says the chairman. In the grassroots universe, educating people about candidates is what we do. The local Republican party has a different mission and different rules. This is one reason that grassroots groups like the Tea Party and 912 have arisen – the “establishment” is not always your friend.

Here’s a few pictures of the event.

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