The Washington Post

Republican 2016 hopefuls to gather in D.C. with 2014 in mind

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., center, is followed by reporters as he leaves after speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference in Washington, Thursday, June 13, 2013. The fight for the direction of the Republican Party will be on display Thursday at a Washington conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group created by former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed. Designed to strengthen the evangelical influence in national politics, the conference gives many religious conservative activists their first look at potential 2016 presidential candidates. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is followed by reporters as he leaves after speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference in Washington, Thursday, June 13, 2013.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Some of the Republican Party's top presidential prospects for 2016 will gather in Washington next month for three days of speech-making focused squarely on another election: the 2014 midterms.

At least seven GOP White House hopefuls are confirmed to speak at "Road to Majority," a gathering of a couple thousand social conservative activists from June 19 to 21 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, according to an organizer.

The conference is being hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, founded and chaired by Ralph Reed, a former executive director of the Christian Coalition and top political adviser to former president George W. Bush.

Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) are scheduled to deliver speeches at "Road to Majority," as is Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the 2012 vice presidential nominee. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is slated to deliver the keynote address at a gala dinner on Saturday evening, according to the organizer, who requested anonymity because the schedule has not been publicly released.

Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee -- whose strong followings among social conservatives propelled them to win several primaries and caucuses in the 2012 and 2008 presidential campaigns respectively -- are confirmed to speak at the conference. Both men are weighing presidential campaigns in 2016.

Other potential 2016 candidates -- including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence -- have been invited but have not confirmed, the organizer said. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush also was invited but had a scheduling conflict, the organizer said.

The roster of confirmed speakers at "Road to Majority" also includes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who is running for reelection this year, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Sen. Mike Lee (Utah), the organizer said. Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, will be honored with a lifetime achievement award.

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.



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