CPAC: A conference overview

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2024 in Washington, D.C., Feb. 21-24 brought together attendees and speakers from different nations.

CPAC describes itself on its website as the “largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.” This year, thousands of attendees came dressed in anything from casual attire supporting their favorite conservative candidate to ballgowns.

Wednesday night kicked off with an invite-only International Summit, where many of CPAC’s international speakers came together.

The main event took place Thursday through Saturday, with a series of speeches by different speakers every day. Thursday started off with U.S. Congressman (FL-19) Byron Donalds, podcast host Monia Crawley, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, among others.

On Friday, speakers including U.S. Congressman (NC-8) Dan Bishop, actress Savannah Chrisley and former Deputy National Security Advisor to the President K.T. McFarland brought messages about the importance of freedom to the CPAC stage. 

Saturday kicked off with an invite-only women’s breakfast featuring President of Moms for America Kimberly Fletcher, media personality Gina Loudon and U.S. Congresswoman (UT-2) Rep. Celeste Maloy.

The most anticipated mainstage speech of the weekend was former President Donald Trump. He spoke about his record of success during his previous term as well as the upcoming election, in which he’s currently vying to be the GOP candidate.

CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp said in an interview that he enjoyed getting to know CPAC’s attendees and their stories of why they made the trip to the conference.

“My favorite part of CPAC is almost always when Donald Trump gives his speech, because there’s always something in there that’s always a little off-the-wall and funny in there,” Schlapp said. “My second favorite part of CPAC is when I get to walk around and talk to all the people that come there. There are so many diverse stories about why they’re there.”

Each year, CPAC also puts together the straw poll, where attendees vote on topics. This year, the main question was about who the Republican nominee for the upcoming presidential election should be. In this year’s poll, Donald Trump defeated Nikki Haley 94% to 5%.

Attendees were also asked in the poll whom the Republican VP pick for 2024 should be. The poll ended in a tie between South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, both receiving 15% of the vote. Both Noem and Ramaswamy gave mainstage speeches at CPAC 2024. Other picks were Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard with 9% of the vote and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott with 8%.

Trump has not announced his VP yet, but his short-list of nominees was announced Feb. 20 and includes Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy, Byron Donalds, Kristi Noem and Tulsi Gabbard.

For more information on CPAC, visit this website.    

Smith is the news editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X.

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