Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Tuesday that he will not address this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which begins Thursday in National Harbor, Md. outside Washington, D.C.
Instead of attending CPAC, Huckabee will speak to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention Thursday night in Nashville, where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke Monday.
The decision was not entirely a surprise, as Huckabee was not on early lineup lists of conference speakers. But Huckabee's staff made it official Tuesday when it released a schedule that included stops in Tennessee and South Carolina on Thursday and Friday, with none in the Washington area.
For Huckabee, who served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007 and ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, the no-show comes as something of a surprise, given all of the attention CPAC draws.
But according to The Hill,
Huckabee "might be calculating that he's better off wooing voters in South Carolina, a state he fell just short in during his 2008 presidential run, and shoring up influential religious conservatives at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention" in Nashville on Thursday.
While he has addressed CPAC in the past, Huckabee's relationship with the conference has not always been a happy one.
In 2010, The Hill reported
that Huckabee "slammed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last night as a corrupt organization that's losing ground to tea party protesters."
After that conference, Huckabee suggested that CPAC's time had passed, stating that "where CPAC historically was the event, the Tea Parties now are having their own events all over the country and a lot more truly grassroots people are getting involved because of the Tea Parties."
He also said CPAC had become "more libertarian and less Republican" (then-Rep. Ron Paul of Texas had won the 2010 straw poll).
The change in CPAC was "one of the reasons I didn't go this year," Huckabee said.
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