MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As the South Carolina Tea Party Convention wrapped up Monday evening, some in attendance felt this was the event to help set the momentum for the 2016 Presidential run.
Event organizers said they are pleased with the overall turnout for the weekend convention. Joe Dugan, the Tea Party convention organizer, said they had "much higher than we've ever had in the past. The level of enthusiasm of the people attending here absolutely incredible."
Dugan told WMBF he does not have final numbers for this year's convention, but early estimates indicate the number of people in attendance this weekend and Monday is the highest they've seen since the convention began four years ago.
"My expectations was 1,100 people, and I think we came very close to that," explained Dugan.
He said a lot of the attendees that visited Myrtle Beach were from more than 28 states. There were many local residents and South Carolinians like Jerry Petitt, who traveled from Bluffton, South Carolina to be part of the convention. "This is my first time at this convention. I think its been beneficial and very informative," said Petitt.
Ron Hooper traveled from Florida. "Oh it's been great! I think I met a lot of folks, I've heard a lot of great speakers met several candidates for presidency," he told us.
Dugan said without a doubt, he knows having Donald Trump as Monday's keynote speaker helped boost attendance, but he also believes that the topics and speakers invited this year helped as well. Trump, Senators Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, and Dr. Ben Carson were all featured speakers and potential 2016 presidential candidates.
After speaking with many at the convention, Dugan said he got the sense that speakers and topics discussed really addressed the concerns and issues relevant they believe will move the country forward.
"There is not an event like this in the United States of America. This is unique because all the other events you see a number of important people speaking they're all talking about themselves. Here they're talking about problems and solutions to problems, the crisis that our country is facing," explained Dugan.