Susana Martinez Will Not Attend CPAC
For the second year in a row, the premier annual conservative confab will be without one of the nation's most dynamic and up-and-coming Republican leaders.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez will not attend the Conservative Political Action Conference next month at Maryland’s National Harbor resort, a Martinez adviser told RealClearPolitics.
In a statement last week, American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas told Univision and Fusion that Martinez would, in fact, be among the speakers.
Her expected appearance was then widely circulated among conservative groups and other media outlets, several of which touted her as one of the event’s most anticipated speakers.
But according to the Martinez camp, she never confirmed her invitation to appear at the event.
“She’s not speaking at CPAC,” the Martinez adviser said. “That was an error on CPAC’s part.”
A call to the ACU and an email to a CPAC spokesperson on Thursday were not immediately returned.
CPAC organizers also generated headlines last year when they declined to invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to speak at the 2013 event.
Christie was one of the most popular Republican leaders at the time but had ruffled feathers with conservatives in the months prior to the conference by lending his full-throated support to President Obama’s disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Despite his current problems back home with the Bridgegate scandal, Christie accepted an invitation to speak at next month’s gathering.
But the absence of Martinez will put a damper on CPAC for conference attendees eager to see and hear the nation’s first female Hispanic governor, who was elected in 2010 and gave a well-received speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Martinez, who is up for re-election this year, has repeatedly denied interest in running for president in 2016. Nonetheless, Republican strategists, donors and activists frequently name her as either a strong dark-horse presidential contender or an excellent potential VP pick for whoever ends up topping the GOP ticket.
Other confirmed speakers for this year’s event include Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum.