RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia Tea Party Patriot convention is an example of how the grass roots movement has become a true political force.
Not everyone agrees with much of what the Tea Party stands for, even many people to right of the political spectrum. But an event like this shows, they can't be ignored, and those running for and in office know it.
They come filled with enthusiasm and determination. The Tea Party's influence in politics is here, whether those running for office like it or not.
"When they've seen so many incumbents knocked off in primaries they realized they better incorporate that message," said political analyst, Dr. Bob Hollsworth.
And it's influence can be seen by the big names that attend. Governor Bob McDonnell and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling both spoke today. The Governor declared the importance of standing up to the federal government.
"And that is why we filed suit with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in federal court to stand up for that principal," McDonnell said to loud cheers.
Cuccinelli speaks on Saturday but had supporters handing out letters thanking convention goers for attending.
Former Democratic presidential advisor turned right wing TV commentator Dick Morris believes the Tea Party will only grow.
"This is a snowball rolling down a hill," said Morris. "And as we get closer to the election it gets bigger and bigger."
But this convention represents only a portion of one side of the political spectrum. Meaning candidates on the right still have a delicate balance of welcoming the Tea Party, without alienating everyone else.
"Establishment Republican candidates and establishment Republican leaders are trying as best they can to embrace a number of principles of the Tea Party," said Hollsworth.
A careful walk that will only get more difficult.
McDonnell told the crowd today, much to their delight, that he is in favor of the "repeal amendment". The amendment would allow states to make changes to federal law, without having to challenge them in court. It could have a dramatic impact on the way federal law is implemented. Particularly with major items, like the recently passed health care reform act.