Today in Fort Worth, TX, RedState will start its fifth RedState Gathering.
Five years ago, I put up a post on the site asking if anyone wanted to get together offline in Atlanta for a beer. More than 300 people said yes. So we had to do something.
Without telling our corporate masters at Eagle Publishing, Caleb Howe and I began planning an event in Atlanta. We decided to have it the first weekend in August because school would not have started. Then we decided we did not want a big fancy affair like CPAC with multiple tiers of cost for people coming and big stages as a barrier between the crowds and speakers.
So we kept the cost low by making the speakers pay their own way and they had to agree to take questions from the crowd. At our first Gathering, we had few elected officials. But we had several candidates for office. They included Nikki Haley, Ken Cuccinelli, Pat Toomey, Ted Cruz, Michael Williams, Karen Handel, and others. Liz Cheney even came.
The next year, we went to Austin, TX and Governor Perry started a tradition of throwing a welcoming party. The next year he'd announce his Presidential candidacy at the Gathering in Charleston.
Today we are back in Texas. Governor Perry threw a great party last night. Governor Jindal flew in to have dinner with the front page contributors. And over the next few days the crowd will hear from Gov. Perry, Gov. Haley, Sen. Cruz, and many others. They were all there for the first few Gatherings. And now new friends and allies have come.
The event keeps growing, but at its heart it remains an authentically grassroots gathering of friends from diverse backgrounds with a common cause. We will keep you updated of what's happening on our front page.
Next year, we will return to where it all began — Atlanta, GA. Thanks for all your support and welcome to the RedState Gathering weekend.