Tea party faithful look to 2016 at South Carolina convention

A woman holds an upside-down flag during a tea party rally protesting extra IRS scrutiny of their groups, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Cherry Hill, N.J. Tea party activists waving flags and signs, singing patriotic songs and chanting anti-IRS slogans protested outside federal buildings across the country to protest the agency's extra scrutiny of conservative groups. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Tea party faithful have gathered at a South Carolina coastal resort to talk about how conservatives can maximize their influence in the 2016 presidential election.

Several possible White House contenders will address 1,500 attendees at the annual tea party convention in Myrtle Beach.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson are scheduled to speak Sunday. Former Sen. Rick Santorum and businessman Donald Trump are to speak Monday.

Many attendees say the 2016 Republican nominee must come from the conservative movement, and they predict the party will lose its third consecutive national election if the nominee is an establishment favorite like John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary is set for February 2016, weeks after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

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