According to the Las Vegas hotel that was supposed to play host to the second national tea party convention, the much-hyped event has been canceled. Organizers of the convention haven't returned my calls, but grassroots tea party leaders I talked to today said that they haven't heard a word about the convention in awhile -- and Nevada leaders told me that if the event is canceled, good riddance.
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If the convention really is off, the loss of the event will stand as the third high-profile tea party organizing fail in a month. With the election rapidly approaching, the failure of the LibertyXPO in DC this month, the second DC 9/12 rally and now the second convention suggest those that hope to leverage the movement for big, nationally-covered productions may have tapped out the tea party grassroots.
The evidence is certainly mounting that the convention -- which was moved from its original July date to October 14 earlier this year -- is officially not happening. First, Tea Party Nation, the controversial group that many tea partiers reject as a fake, has removed all reference to the event from its website (see a cached version of the page here to get a look at the convention's former prominence on the site.) When I called the Mirage, the hotel where the convention was supposed to take place, the sales office told me the event was canceled last week.
Judson Phillips, Tea Party Nation spokesperson and the organizer of the event, didn't answer his cell phone when I called. Mark Scuda, the Memphis, Tennessee tea party leader who helped organize the first convention in Nashville, told me he's not involved in organizing the Vegas convention and didn't know if it was happening or not.