Updated, 2/13/2014: Martinez will not attend CPAC, according to an adviser who said her appearance was never confirmed.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Texas Gov. Rick Perry will speak at next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual confab of conservatives that serves as a showcase for potential GOP presidential candidates.
Although the next presidential election is more than two years away, potential candidates have already begun to test the waters and connect with donors and political officials. Martinez and Perry will both be able to put their message in front of the conservative movement’s fervent supporters and the media during CPAC, which runs March 6-8.
Martinez and Perry will be among 200 speakers at the three-day event, American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas told Fusion and Univision in a statement.
For Martinez, it will be her first appearance at CPAC since President Obama’s reelection in 2012. The nation’s first Latina governor is one of the GOP’s rising stars, and she made a splash on the national stage during a rousing primetime speech at the Republican National Convention.
But Martinez has been coy — even unenthusiastic — about seeking the presidency in 2016. For the moment she might be preoccupied, since she faces reelection this fall in New Mexico. Martinez was invited to speak at CPAC last year, but declined to appear.
Perry has strongly suggested he’s throwing his hat into the ring in 2016, after his failed attempt to win the GOP nomination in 2012. Last year, Perry announced he won’t seek another term as Texas governor and reports indicate he’s actively considering a presidential run.
Martinez and Perry will be joined at CPAC by a roster of high-profile Republicans who could challenge them in a potential GOP primary: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.