About 25 tea party members protested in Moorestown at Christie's fundraiser for the Burlington County Republican Committee Monday night. They stood on the sidewalk in front of the affluent town's community house and waved signs as Christie's black SUV breezed by them and traveled up a long driveway.
A few hundred well-heeled invited guests arrived earlier by limo, car and foot to raise money for the GOP committee's slate of candidates for county and state legislative offices. Christie was the guest of honor.
"Tired of Political Games - Vote Republicans4Burlco - Conservative Values" said one of the placards that was bouncing about during the hour-long demonstration. Other signs promoted the Second Amendment and a rival slate of GOP candidates that the West Jersey Tea Party is endorsing for county sheriff, freeholder and state assembly.
Bill Haney, a founder of the tea party group, said he wasn't invited to the fundraiser but had learned about the event from an associate who was. "We're not protesting - we're presenting an alternative to the Republican ticket," he said.
Bill Layton, chair of the GOP Committee, said last month that the party has tried to build a consensus and he did not understand why the tea party was fielding candidates in the June 4 primary.
Seth Grossman, a tea party candidate who is challenging Christie in the primary race for governor, was on the sidewalk. He hastily approached reporters so he could deliver his message. Within minutes, he was referencing Christie's weight and recent weight-reduction surgery. "He's crushing the economy as his weight is ruining his health," he said. "We need lapband surgery for the government."