Former President Donald Trump is among the big-name speakers who will gather in Texas for the Conservative Political Action Conference that begins Thursday and concludes Sunday.
The gathering in Dallas will give the political world a sense of how firm of a grasp the ex-president has on conservatives after revelations about his behavior on Jan. 6, 2021 — or if there is an opening for other contenders in 2024.
Mr. Trump plans to speak at the event on Saturday.
The former president has positioned himself as a kingmaker in the GOP — his preferred candidates performed well in primaries this week — and is flirting with an early entrance into the 2024 race to combat the unflattering narrative from the House committee investigating the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. Trump will likely be well-received at the event, so the focus will be on possible alternatives.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will be appearing at the event on home turf, and Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, could drive speculation about a presidential bid with his remarks.
Other 2024 contenders aren’t scheduled to appear, however. They include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Both governors are considered rising GOP stars, and made a name for themselves by resisting COVID-19 restrictions during the height of the pandemic.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who refused Mr. Trump’s demands to send 2020 electoral votes back to the states, is not scheduled to appear, either.
Mr. Pence has made the rounds at other political events, however, to highlight a “freedom” agenda for the future and policy wins during the Trump-Pence administration.
Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena, is scheduled to speak at CPAC Texas.
But the most polarizing figure at the CPAC event will likely be Hungarian President Viktor Orban, who enthuses conservatives with his emphasis on Christian values and distrust of the global establishment.
Mr. Orban also has sparked criticism for curtailing press freedoms and judicial independence in Hungary and maintaining ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.