Politics & Government

Tea Party disbands in South Mississippi

The Gulf Coast Tax Day Tea Party at the Gulfport SportsPlex in 2009 was the likely impetus for the South Mississppi Tea Party.
The Gulf Coast Tax Day Tea Party at the Gulfport SportsPlex in 2009 was the likely impetus for the South Mississppi Tea Party. amccoy@sunherald.com

The South Mississippi Tea Party is no more.

“Next and LAST meeting Monday 06/20/2016,” reads the top of the chapter’s website directly above links to posts such as “JIHAD IS UPON US” and “How To Escape The Age of Mass Delusion.”

“I’m just worn out,” said former Chairman Barry Neyrey, a computer programmer by trade. “We’re all worn out. Most of our members are older people.”

He said other groups, such as Americans For Prosperity, have much younger leadership to fight for conservative causes.

“One of the guys I would have liked to have seen succeed me, Phil Harding, is now president of the Harrison County Republican Club,” he said.

The South Mississippi Tea Party — which grew out of a movement ignited by CNBC figure Rick Santelli and conservative talker Glenn Beck — had some good fights and a few victories since it was founded in 2009. Gov. Phil Bryant, although not officially affiliated with the party, was called the first Tea Party governor by some. State Sen. Chris McDaniel, with serious backing by the party, almost toppled Sen. Thad Cochran in the 2014 Republican primary. That election wasn’t settled until a lengthy legal battle was waged over what McDaniel supporters said were election irregularities.

And in the past presidential primary, the Tea Party backed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who won some primaries but eventually dropped out.

That, for Neyrey, was the last straw.

“I’m trying to pay not as much attention to the destruction of our country,” he said. “I’ve already shut down Fox News. I can’t believe how much time I have now.”

So what’s he doing with that time? Ironically, he’s sort of working for Obamacare , the bane of the Tea Party. He’s creating software to help businesses meet a looming deadline for complying with IRS regulations created under the health care law.

And, he’s swallowing hard, and backing Donald Trump.

“Like Trump or not, you’ve got to get behind him,” he said. “The alternative is just too terrible.”

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

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