Hundreds, if not thousands, of frustrated voters lined up along Alameda Boulevard on Saturday afternoon, for the second Albuquerque Tea Rally which organizers called The Spirit of 1776. They skipped backyard barbecues and weekend getaways to show their discontent for both political parties and "out of control spending" here and in Washington.
Some signed up to vote, others filled out pre-addressed post cards to members of the state's congressional delegation and even the governor. Most carried signs and wore red, white, and blue clothing and hats.
Firework fans headed to the City of Albuquerque's Freedom Fourth event at Balloon Fiesta Park honked their car horns at the T-partiers, in what appeared to be support, as they slowly moved their way down Alameda.
Parking lots near Telstar Construction company, which was ground zero for the rally, were full and both sides of the street were lined with hundreds more people carrying signs.
Event volunteers told us they were putting colorful stickers on attendees to try and get an accurate count. They also contracted for an aerial photograph and wouldn't say how many people attended until they counted voter signup, stickers, and looked at the overhead pictures.
Organizers said they'd also pinned small American flags on a pinwall signifying a voice for hundreds of New Mexicans who had sent notes of support, but were unable to attend the afternoon rally.
Weh Campaigning While He Explores 2010 Gubernatorial Nomination.
One of the people they might see in those aerial shots is Albuquerque businessman Allen Weh. He's sounding more and more like a man ready to shift gears from exploring a gubernatorial bid to an all out fight for the Republican Party nomination. He said people around the state are "appalled and astonished at the level of corruption in New Mexico."
Weh told us in this AUDIO INTERVIEW "if you think people are frustrated here, they're frustrated all over, and they're mad."
Weh said the people he's talking to are mostly upset with political corruption and the millions lost by the State Investment Council, which is chaired by Governor Bill Richardson.
When they get to the bottom of this we're going to have 90% of New Mexican's appalled. We're already astonished at the level of corruption in this state. People, regardless of their political persuasions, don't like someone stealing from the public coffers and that's what's been taking place.
The former Republican Party Chairman also criticized the National Education Association for giving Richardson its "Americas Greatest Education Governor" award yesterday in San Diego.
He says the Richardson administration has failed miserably and cited an Education Week report that ranks New Mexico 48th in the nation for school dropouts.
We asked Weh what he would do to improve graduation rates if he were elected:
We're going to compel change and keep kids in schools and in school seats. Before we add one more dime, before we throw one more dollar at the problem, we're going to peel the onion skin back at all the money that's being spent, because I submit that there's enough money to fund our schools and fund it [them] its just our priorities are wrong.Weh said he'll make his final announcement for governor shortly after Labor Day:
I'm campaigning while I'm exploring, and exploring while I campaign because I'm not wasting one minute of time. When it gets around to the formal announcement phase, which is right after Labor Day, we won't look back and say we wasted July and August.