Southern Republican Leadership Conference Seen as 2012 Presidential Kickoff

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 8, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Southern Republican Leadership Conference Seen as 2012 Presidential Kickoff

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 8
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — A politically influential Republican conference kicks off today and it is seen by political observers as an unofficial start to the 2012 presidential contest. Although some of the big names as potential GOP candidates to challenge pro-abortion President Barack Obama will be missing, others can shine.

The three day event won’t have Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

While that makes it slightly less star packed, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour plan to address the crowd of thousands.

Other potential presidential candidates include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum

Louisiana Republican Party chairman Roger Villere, told CNN the event is the jump start for the 2012 presidential cycle."

The event is considered more of an establishment one versus the grassroots-based Conservative Political Action Conference and it will be a big test for Sarah Palin to see if she can wow party leaders who doubt her ability as a potential presidential candidate.

The event will also feature another straw poll but it could be one of the last ones at a national or regional event after supporters of Ron Paul boosted him to victory at the CPAC conference.

David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union which sponsors CPAC, told the Washington Times, the SRLC event plays a huge role.

“The Southern Republican Leadership Conference has since the eighties emerged as incredibly important both to the GOP itself and to conservatives within the party. It’s success symbolized the growth of the GOP in the once solidly Democratic South and the emergence of conservatives as the dominant wing of a Republican Party finally able to fight for majority status in a nation dominated for much of the twentieth century by the Democratic Party.

“Today many Republican conservative activists attend one or the other of these two conferences and more and more Republican leaders attend both," he said.

Michelle Oddis, a writer at the conservative Human events, said the event could be a boost for Palin.

"Republicans and the media will be looking for any signs from Palin about a possible 2012 run for president," she writes.

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