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ELECTION NEWS: Tea Party supporters gathering in Pleasanton

Melson says number of candidates to stop by, but won't say who

A group of local tea party members are gathering will in Pleasanton this evening to watch the primary election results trickle in.

Bridget Melson, president of the Pleasanton Tea Party, said partygoers can expect a number of candidates to stop by, although she declined to say who for security reasons.

Although the party has been criticized by some as still being too small to have real sway in the California primary, Melson said her group sends e-mail blasts to more than 10,000 supporters. The candidates, she said, know that this is no small number in a primary election with fewer voters.

"They know that 10,000 votes is a huge amount of votes," she said.

Melson said more than 300 supporters are expected to attend tonight's event. They will be most closely watching the race for governor, lieutenant governor, Barbara Boxer's Senate seat, and the Congressional District 11 seat now occupied by Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton).

Although it does not make official endorsements for particular candidates on its website, the Pleasanton Tea Party does rate each candidate on how closely he or she aligns with the party's values.

As for a few of her own picks, Melson said she is rooting for gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Senate candidate Chuck DeVore. Melson is confident that DeVore can beat Boxer, despite indications to the contrary by recent polls.

"That man can debate," she said.

The primary-watching party will start at 5 p.m. at 1037 Sunset

Creek Lane in Pleasanton. There is limited seating available, and organizers request RSVPs from attendees via e-mail at drb@pleasantonteaparty.com.

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