POLITICS -- January 21, 2011 at 5:19 PM EDT
DeMint Becomes Latest to Boycott CPAC
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced Friday he was skipping this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, siding with critics who feel the annual gathering of conservative activists has become too friendly with pro-gay and libertarian groups.
"With leading conservative organizations not participating this year, Senator DeMint will not be attending. He hopes to attend a unified CPAC next year," DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton wrote in an e-mail to Ben Smith of Politico.
The move comes after several high-profile conservative groups, including the Media Research Center, the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation decided not to participate in this year's event.
The squabble among conservatives stems from the 38-year-old institution's inclusion of the gay conservative group, GOProud. The organization backed the recent effort to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," the policy barring gays from serving openly in the military
A number of prospective Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to attend the February conference. The list includes Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and South Dakota Sen. John Thune.