SC Tea Party convention brings small crowd but big influence

The Grand Strand is playing host to a grand event in South Carolina politics.

At South Carolina's "Taxed Enough Already" Coalition second convention, leaders preached an agenda against the Democratic Party and the political back and forth in Washington D.C.

"We should be passing Republican flavored legislation out of a Republican controlled House," said District 3 Representative Jeff Duncan in front of the crowd of a little more than 200 people.

During his speech Saturday, Duncan spoke to the crowd about Congress' inactivity during the Fiscal Cliff. He also likened the gun control debate to soldiers returning home from the Revolutionary War.

"When we drafted the Constitution...and put the 2nd amendment in there, they didn't say you can have a squirrel rifle, or a deer rifle or a shotgun but you can't have those rifles you took off the British soldiers. That's wrong. No they didn't do that," said Duncan. "Those weapons were the AR-15 of the day, and there were no restrictions place on those weapons by our founding fathers."

The convention also brought Republican leaders on the rise in D.C. and also one considering a return to politics.

"I'm in the final gut-check of whether or not to run for Congress," said former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

His name recently surfaced as someone to replace newly appointed U.S. Senator Tim Scott's seat in the U.S. House.

Governor Nikki Haley appointed Scott after Senator Jim Demint stepped down from his position last year.

"I'm going to decide here over the weekend," said Sanford. "My gut is fairly well locked down but just day at a time."

But while the gathering shared anticipation and excitement, the amount of emptiness throughout the crowd was glaring.

Dozens of empty chairs freckled the meeting room that had one demographic strongly in attendance.

But Sanford and recently elected U.S. Representative Tom Rice believe the Tea Party does not see a lack of diversity or enthusiasm.

"A lot of folks aren't particularly engaged in politics but share a common set of beliefs on limited government," said Sanford.

"They're vocal and concerned about the continuation and freedoms of our country, and I think everybody's concerned about that in some way," said Representative Tom Rice.

The invitation-only convention continues Sunday at the Springmaid Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach with a speech from Sen. Tim Scott.