The inaugural S.C. Tea Party Convention organizer Joe Dugan isn't ready to call it a snub just yet, but only two of the six GOP presidential nominee hopefuls have accepted invitations to speak to 600 attending tea party leaders from around the state.
in Myrtle Beach. Only Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have signed up for the 20-minute slots set aside for candidates Monday.
"I would think with so many grassroots leaders and activists coming together … that they'd be banging down our doors," Dugan said. Dugan, chair of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party, has endorsed Gingrich. "I wouldn't call it a snub just yet, time isn't up. I would call it a tremendous lost opportunity."
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was actually the first to accept the invitation, but she has since bowed out of the presidential race.
Despite what appears to be a lack of interest from two-thirds of the GOP field, interest has grown among tea partiers in the state — forcing organizers to make room for up to 600. They originally planned to house 500.
Dugan conceived of the convention just a few months ago, creating a whirlwind to bring it to fruition.
The times set aside for presidential candidates remain open at this time, but Dugan said he'll soon fill them up with interesting speakers.
"Give me another example of something like this being done before. This is a first, and five days before the South Carolina primary. If I was running for office, I'd be there early and stay there late," Dugan said.