Small gathering seen for Sooner Tea Party at Oklahoma Capitol

Sooner Tea Party drew less than 30 people to its event Thursday, a far cry from the 5,000 who showed up to a similar event on April 15 two years ago outside the state Capitol.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: April 15, 2011

A local tea party group that has splintered from other tea party groups held a small gathering billed as a rally outside the Capitol on Thursday.

Sooner Tea Party drew less than 30 people to its event Thursday.

The group's leader, Al Gerhart, told the small crowd that the group spent $1,000 on radio advertising for the event.

The turnout was a far cry from the 5,000 who showed up to a similar event on April 15 two years ago outside the Capitol.

Then, organizers of the Oklahoma Tax Day Tea Party said America's leaders were out of control with spending and were ignoring the Constitution. That rally, on the deadline to file federal and state income taxes, was intended to send a message to Washington to stop excessive spending, organizers said. Between 800 and 1,200 people showed up for a similar rally last year.

But since then, Gerhart has drawn criticism from other local tea party activists, who claim he has become too radical.

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