Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is high on the list of dream White House candidates for some conservatives, has grabbed a prime speaking slot at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, convening later this month outside Washington, D.C.
The Daily Signal has learned that Pence will be the keynote speaker at CPAC’s Ronald Reagan Dinner on Friday, Feb. 27, the third day of the four-day conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
“There is no better example of the Reagan approach than Mike Pence,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, primary sponsor of the annual national gathering of thousands of conservatives. Schlapp added in a statement to The Daily Signal:
The governor is someone who believes the answers to the problems we face can be found in the ingenuity of Americans and the traditions that guide them. Mike Pence believes in limited government, strong families and a world where America is respected. Mike Pence has always been a star at CPAC, a friend to the ACU, and someone I deeply respect.
CPAC spokesman Ian Walters said the keynote for the dinner named after President Reagan traditionally is reserved for “leading conservative figures.”
Pence, 55, had represented eastern Indiana in the House of Representatives since 2001 before being elected governor in 2012. A lawyer and former talk radio host, he served as chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011.
His predecessor as governor, Mitch Daniels, spoke at the Reagan dinner in 2011. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, now beginning his second term and a favorite in the early Republican field for president next year, spoke in 2012.
“It is a privilege to be chosen to deliver the Reagan Address,” @GovPenceIN says.
“For over 40 years, the Conservative Political Action Conference has been a linchpin of time-honored thoughts and ideas,” Pence told The Daily Signal in a statement, adding:
It is a privilege to be chosen to deliver the Reagan Address at this year’s gathering of friends and conservative leaders from around the country. I am looking forward to spending time with this year’s attendees as we stand together in our work for conservative principles.
Prospective GOP candidates for president set to speak during CPAC general sessions include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired Maryland neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Virginia entrepreneur Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.