Gov. Chris Christie's star power and fundraising prowess are apparently not enough to get the governor an invite to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference set for next month in Washington D.C..
A source close to the American Conservative Union confirmed that the governor has indeed not been invited to this year's conference, which will feature a who's who of GOP stars including last year's presidential standard bearer, Mitt Romney.
Among the big-name Republicans scheduled to attend the event, the largest gathering of conservatives in the nation, are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
The source did not provide context for the snub, but Christie has been on the wrong side of some conservatives since late October, when in the throes of the presidential race, the Garden State governor embraced President Obama, literally and figuratively, when the president visited for a tour of Superstorm Sandy's destruction.
Christie defended his welcoming of Obama, saying he was doing what needed to be done for his battered state, but some Republicans saw it as turning his back on Romney, who went on to lose the race handily.
A spokeswoman for the group would not confirm Christie's snub.
"CPAC schedule is still being finalized, with several more announcements pending over the next three weeks," said ACU spokeswoman Laura Rigas in an email.
Last year, Christie's speech before the gathered crowd drew rave reviews and the 2016 presidential hopeful even took second in the vice presidential straw poll behind Rubio, who could battle Christie for the Republican nomination three years from now. Ryan, who was the vice presidential nominee, took third and could also battle for the prime spot three years from now.
Romney took first in the presidential poll.
A spokesman for Christie did not return a call for comment on the snub, first reported by NBC.
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"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop- PolitickerNJ.com
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