Political frustration brings Tea Party to Newton

COVINGTON — When Luke Knight heard that an unknown, unemployed military veteran who did no campaigning and raised no funds beat a four-term lawmaker in the Democratic primary for South Carolina's U.S. Senate seat, he got angry. Then, he took action.

Alvin Greene likely won the primary because his name came first on the ballot, according to South Carolina's Democratic Party chair. That shouldn't be happening anywhere in America, Knight said, and on Saturday, he's hosting a Tea Party on the Square in downtown Covington to call for more responsible voting.

"I thought to myself, that's insane," Knight said. "I just got ticked off ... and said, ‘We're going to have us a Tea Party.' I'm hoping to make people start asking questions about the people that are running. And if we know we have somebody in office that doesn't fulfill the needs of the office, they need to be kicked out."

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a flier states the goal is "to bring the people together in one accord to rid ourselves of the hard left and the hard right so that we might move our country forward."

Knight held his first Tea Party about three weeks ago at his home and about 18 people attended. He's hoping the downtown location will draw 100 or more. He wanted to have the event prior to the primary election but couldn't get a permit in time.

The event will include prayer, music and the singing of the National Anthem, along with a few speakers and the opportunity for public comment.

Asked who should attend, Knight responded, "Anybody with the desire to see a better government, better decisions by lawmakers and those who do not wish to see this nation turned into something that it's not."

Tea Parties have been springing up across the country since 2009. The Tea Party movement focuses on smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, individual freedoms and upholding the Constitution. Tea Party protests have been held on a variety of issues, including the health care reform bill recently passed by Congress.