Hundreds of Albuquerque Tea Party supporters toting political signs gathered in an empty lot near Balloon Fiesta Park on Saturday.
Charlotte Salazar, the original founder of the Albuquerque Tea Party, was one of the speakers at the “Get Out the Vote” rally. During her speech, Salazar said the Tea Party is becoming a recognizable, legitimate political force.

“This is our country. This is our state, and finally our voice will be heard,” she said.

The rally had guest speakers and political candidates from around New Mexico, including members of the Albuquerque Tea Party and members from nonprofit organization Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy.

Rick Morlen, an Albuquerque Tea Party board member, served as the event’s master of ceremonies. He said the Tea Party plans on posting two billboards around Albuquerque.

“We’ve been collecting since January for advertising,” Morlen said.

One of the signs that Morlen unveiled included the words “Liberty or Tyranny,” while the other read “Take out the Trash.” The parking lot that served as the location for the rally was filled with Tea Party supporters who donned homemade signs with phrases such as “Remember Obamacare,” and “Vote Them Out!”

Christie Humphrey, a candidate for Bernalillo County Assessor who attended the event, said she is running as a Republican, but the county assessor should be less focused on political affiliation and more with results.

“Politically, I am more in the middle,” Humphrey said.

Douglas Daugherty, who protested against the rally, said he passed out flyers on campus about the anti-Tea
Party rally but was disappointed with the
counter-protest turnout.

“I handed out 800 flyers and only three people came out,” Daugherty said. “It seems that people want something done, but no one wants to do it themselves. We’ve become too comfortable.”

He said he has been called names and confronted by campus police when passing out flyers.

“One person told me I can either love our country or leave,” Daugherty said. “Another person came and told me he fought for my freedom to protest and was glad I was out there.”

Daugherty said he doesn’t understand the Tea Party’s approach to fixing government.
“I understand that they want to fix things, but what’s their idea of fixing it?” Daugherty said.