The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the largest gathering of conservative activists in the country, is preparing to break the attendance record they set last year, according to American Conservative Union (ACU) chairman Matt Schlapp.
Schlapp, speaking at a press briefing, said that CPAC, which had more than 11,000 attendees last year, will surpass that number for this year’s event. CPAC will take place from March 2nd through the 5th at the Gaylord Hotel in Oxon Hill, MD.
Even though CPAC will take place right after the Super Tuesday primaries, which will probably narrow the Republican presidential field substantially, several of the candidates have committed to speak there. The group is led by GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who is sure to attract a very large audience due to his celebrity status alone. Other candidates speaking include Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson—the latter two who may effectively, if not officially, be out of the race by the time the conference begins. Ohio Gov. John Kasich declined an invitation to speak and Schlapp said to wait for news on Marco Rubio.
Schlapp also announced that former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who served as the chairman of the American Conservative Union foundation before deciding to run, will be the keynote speaker at the Ronald Reagan banquet.
CPAC currently has 114 sponsoring and exhibiting organizations listed, which consists mostly of familiar names. But it also includes the Atheist Voter/Secular Pro-Life and Log Cabin Republicans, both of which will be sure to draw protests from some quarters of the conservative movement, though probably nothing like previous battles over inclusion of gay groups at CPAC. Apparently conservatives have decided to focus on other issues rather than get into a nasty internecine battle that only gives the liberal media the fodder they seek to ridicule the movement.
You can learn more about CPAC and register for the conference here.