Movement History


TEA is an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already”.  The original “TEA Party” has given way to the more common “Tea Party”, but the movement is the same, a loose alliance of conservatives, libertarians, and Jacksonian populists who believe that the United States republic is at a crucial juncture.

From, with slight editing for brevity:

… impetus was given to the grassroots movement when radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh criticized the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on January 27, 2009.  Limbaugh accurately predicted the stimulus bill would make the recession worse, and said it is the wrong kind of government intervention.


On February 9, 2009, a Cape Coral, Florida woman named Mary Rakovich led a small protest outside President Barack Obama’s townhall meeting in Fort Myers  Then in late March of 2009, faced with the prospect of heavy fines from the city for not having the proper permitting or insurance, Mary Rakovich moved forward with future protests but with the backing of FreedomWorks, a national conservative think tank that offered to provide the insurance per the city’s rules.

The first anti-spending protest, organized by math teacher Keli Carender (who blogs as Liberty Belle at Redistributing Knowledge), occurred in Seattle, Washington on February 16, 2009.  Another protest was held the following day in Denver on February 17, and a protest in Mesa, Arizona on February 18 brought 500 protesters.

Then, on February 19, on live TV, CNBC reporter Rick Santelli held forth from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange against the bailouts and shouted, “The government is promoting bad behavior.”, and that the nation needed “a new kind of tea party,” so that citizens can express their discontent with “the government’s support of fiscal irresponsibility.” and “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July.  All you capitalists that want to show up at Lake Michigan, I’m going to start organizing.”

With the help of DontGo, Top Conservatives on Twitter (TCOT), Smart Girl Politics (SGP), The American Spectator, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, and The Heartland Institute, the Chicago Tea Parties were scheduled to occur nationwide on February 27, 2009.  On that date, Americans across the country gathered in 50 cities to protest the newly-passed Stimulus Bill of 2009.  In total, over 30,000 people made it to these gatherings.

The success of the national Chicago Tea Party protests, as part of a concerted nationwide continuation effort, led to the first of many scheduled Tea Party rallies around the country.  Following the February 27th Tea Parties, a group called Americans for Prosperity (AFP) of North Carolina began implementing plans for a “Tax Day” Tea Party rally in Raleigh on the tax filing deadline, which was Wednesday, April 15th.

In conjunction with this AFP effort, a rally was also organized here in Morehead City, NC by local citizens Kyra Moore and Don Acree.  This rally was the basis for the formation of the Morehead Tea Party, the name of which was changed a year later to the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots.