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Tea Party Group Launches Iowa Radio Blitz for Palin Event

Tea Party Group Launches Iowa Radio Blitz for Palin Event

By Scott Conroy - August 21, 2011


She may not be an official candidate at this point, but Sarah Palin will hit the airwaves in Iowa on Monday, and it's not going to cost the former Alaska governor a dime.

Tea Party of America -- a recently created group that is hosting a Palin-keynoted rally in the south-central Iowa town of Indianola on Sept. 3 -- is launching a major radio blitz in the nation’s first voting state to promote the prospective GOP presidential contender’s attendance at the event.

Charlie Gruschow, a co-founder of the group who confirmed the ad buy to RealClearPolitics, said anyone interested in attending the rally will also be directed to a website where they can reserve free tickets and sign up to receive updates.

Organizers hope that the promotional effort will help them gain a rough idea of the expected crowd, which is almost certain to number in the thousands.

“It’s just so difficult to estimate,” Gruschow said of gauging a head count for the rally. “There seems to be quite a bit of interest.”

Speculation that Palin might use the Labor Day weekend event to declare her candidacy has ramped up on cable news and the conservative blogosphere, but RCP has learned from sources close Palin that an official announcement is unlikely at that time.

Still, Palin’s speech is expected to offer more clues about whether she will jump into the race sometime in September, as some of her public comments and behind-the-scenes actions over the past several months have suggested is possible. And a core group of self-appointed volunteer organizers hope that the Indianola shindig will be one of the best-attended events of the presidential campaign season to date.

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“It’ll be big,” vowed veteran Iowa GOP grass-roots organizer Susan Geddes, who helped launch the Palin event.

The rally was originally scheduled to be held in the Des Moines suburb of Waukee but was moved to a new outdoor location in Indianola due to concerns that the steep hills at the Waukee venue might have posed a hazardous parking situation, in the event of inclement weather.

Peter Singleton, a California attorney who leads the Iowa branch of the all-volunteer group Organize4Palin, told conservative radio host Tammy Bruce on Saturday that in addition to Palin’s speech, the three-hour midday rally would include a diverse undercard of speakers, music and video interludes, and even a group lesson on precinct organizing.

The event will pose a significant test for Singleton and the rest of the all-volunteer army of Palin devotees who have for months been quietly paving the way for a presidential run that would be fueled by a dedicated core of political novices.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the crowd that will descend on the site -- which recently played host to the National Balloon Classic -- will include a sizable contingent of out-of-staters. The Texas branch of Organize4palin, for example, is organizing a bus trip to make the more than 11-hour drive from Dallas to Indianola.

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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