Organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) say they’re determined to showcase the movement’s “diversity” when delegates meet in Washington, D.C., next week, expanding their lineup of speakers and panelists to include significantly more African-Americans, Hispanics and women.
The annual gathering of conservative activists — often seen as a testing ground for rising GOP stars and potential presidential contenders — has been at the center of controversy in the past week for its decision to exclude the pro-gay-marriage group GOProud from the conference.
Similar snubs to popular Republican Govs. Chris Christie (N.J.) and Bob McDonnell (Va.) have also stirred debate about CPAC’s inclusiveness.
But in the wake of steep Republican losses among Hispanic, black and female voters in the 2012 election cycle, officials with the American Conservative Union, which organizes the three-day conference, maintain this year’s event will have a far more “representative view of America” than past meetings.