PLEASANTON -- Organizers of the Pleasanton/NorCal Tea Party are expecting more than 10,000 people to turn out Saturday for the Golden State Rally for America at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

Candidates backed by the Tea Party will get a chance at the rally to share their views with other like-minded conservatives in preparation for the Nov. 2 elections.

"This is very important election," said Bridget Melson, Pleasanton Tea Party founder and president "We plan on, as conservatives, taking over the House at least and hopefully California."

Melson founded the Pleasanton TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party in 2009 and has held two tax day rallies that attracted over 3,000 people in 2009 and over 10,000 at April's rally, also held at the fairgrounds.

Saturday's festivities run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with gates opening at 10:30 a.m. at the Alameda County Fairgrounds off Valley Ave. through Gate 12. Based on responses she has received, Melson says she expects between 12,000 to 15,000 people from up and down the state. The event also has 50 booth sponsors signed up, 20 more than in April.

The event is free to the public but there is an $8 fee to park at the fairgrounds.

Melson said the Tea Party goal is to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California; House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; and Congressman Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.


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McNerney drew the ire of Tea Party members after his decision to vote in favor of President Barack Obama's health care reform bill that passed in March. The Pleasanton Tea Party held several protests outside the congressman's Pleasanton office leading up to the historic vote.

"The April rally we were unsure of who we liked and it was more for the primaries," Melson said. "This one is different because we are putting out candidates who you should vote for and who we would like you to hear."

The Tea Party-backed candidates scheduled to speak include Republican David Harmer, who is running against McNerney for his District 11 seat; Republican John Dennis, challenging Pelosi for her District 8 seat; and San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, a Republican seeking the State Assembly District 15 seat held by Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo.

"We just want to make (California) a red state," Melson said.

The Pleasanton Tea Party is also hosting a pre-event fundraising barbecue from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday at Dickeys BBQ, 6654 Koll Center Parkway, Pleasanton. Tickets for the barbecue are $10 and must be purchased at the Pleasanton Tea Party's website, at www.pleasantonteaparty.com.

Robert Jordan covers Pleasanton and Dublin. Contact him at 925-847-2184.