New Jersey governor Chris Christie was not invited to address the Conservative Political Action Conference because of his position on gun control, according to a source familiar with CPAC’s internal deliberations who requested anonymity to speak freely.
Christie has a “limited future” in the national Republican party given his position on gun control, the source tells National Review Online. As a result, the CPAC insider says, the focus of this year’s conference, “the future of conservatism,” made Christie a bad fit.
Christie, the source adds, is simply not a conservative in the eyes of organizers.
The New Jersey governor, who has expressed concern about “an abundance of guns out there,” has said he backs the gun-control legislation currently on the books in his state, some of the nation’s most restrictive. Christie has also not been afraid to speak out against the National Rifle Association, calling an ad the group ran in the wake of the Newtown shooting “reprehensible” and “awful.”
In another move that may distance him from conservatives, Christie, who boasts a 74 percent approval rating in New Jersey, is set to announce this afternoon that he will accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. His reversal follows those of other GOP governors including Florida’s Rick Scott and Ohio’s Jon Kasich who, like Christie, have been vocal in their criticism of the Affordable Care Act.
Though Christie was not invited to CPAC, several potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates are slated to appear, including Senators Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), and Governor Bobby Jindal (La.).