There are almost 40 featured speakers at next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, but one of the most popular Republican governors in the country has yet to receive an invite.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is “not being invited” to CPAC, according to a source close to the event who was not authorized to speak publicly. The source would not answer why Christie, who is widely thought to be interested in the 2016 presidential race, would not be invited to the confab of conservative activists.
The tough talking governor hasn’t been afraid to take on his own party in the past. Last month he blasted the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, specifically Speaker John Boehner, for adjourning without approving a $60 billion relief package for the victims of superstorm Sandy. (The money has since been approved).
Christie also angered some members of the Romney team, and other Republicans, when just one week before the presidential election he praised President Obama’s handling of the storm, which slammed into his state on Oct. 29.
Officially, CPAC says the schedule is still being finalized.
“We still have three weeks to CPAC and have several more announcements to go,” Communications Director Laura Keehner Rigas told ABC News. “I encourage everyone to hold tight.”
The conservative confab is being held outside of Washington, D.C., next month and will feature Mitt Romney’s first public appearance since his loss in November and almost 40 other featured speakers, many of them also thought to be interested in 2016, including former Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.
Other big names include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, among many others.
What is unclear is whether the “not inviting” will stand, now that the news has broken. Christie is incredibly popular in his home state. A Quinnipiac poll from earlier this month found a 74 percent approval rating for Christie, the highest of any New Jersey governor in 17 years of Quinnipiac Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll out last month that found a 73 percent approval rating for Christie from Garden State voters.
NBC News first reported the news that Christie would not be attending CPAC.