CPAC 2023: Trump Overwhelmingly Wins Conference Straw Poll, But Notable Republicans Opt Out

This week, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is taking place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.[0] The 2023 edition is featuring speeches from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and former U.S. President Donald Trump.[0] Trump overwhelmingly won CPAC’s conference straw poll, garnering 62 percent support from attendees compared to 20 percent for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.[1] Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, who was removed from the state’s gubernatorial ballot last year for filing fraudulent nominating signatures, came in third with 5 percent support.[2]

Attendees displayed their support for Trump, wearing “Trump 2024” hats and “Trump was right” T-shirts, and posing for pictures in a replica Oval Office.[3] Trump is expected to address the conference on Saturday evening, while two other declared presidential hopefuls, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, delivered remarks earlier in the week.[4]

However, a number of big names opted to skip the conference, creating questions about its relevance.[5] Potential 2024 presidential candidates like DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) all declined to attend.[6] Other absentees included House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.[7]

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is presumed to launch his campaign in the near future, addressed the crowd and took a thinly veiled shot at Trump.[8] Meanwhile, the event was just as notable for those who skipped the event, suggesting Republicans might be interested in forging their own path without the platform of institutions like CPAC.[9]

0. “The 10 Most Ridiculous CPAC Events” Rolling Stone, 3 Mar. 2023,

1. “Trump ties a ribbon on the most MAGA CPAC yet” POLITICO, 5 Mar. 2023,

2. “Trump overwhelmingly wins CPAC's Republican primary straw poll with DeSantis coming in a distant second” Fox News, 4 Mar. 2023,

3. “Trump rival Nikki Haley seeks support from Republicans ‘tired of losing’” The Guardian US, 3 Mar. 2023,

4. “Watch live: Trump, Bolsonaro and more take the stage on Day 3 of CPAC” The Hill, 4 Mar. 2023,

5. “Pompeo’s personal dig at Trump” The Washington Post, 4 Mar. 2023,

6. “Former President Donald Trump closes the curtain on CPAC 2023 in DC” NPR, 5 Mar. 2023,

7. “Why does CPAC seem extra weird this year?” Grid, 4 Mar. 2023,

8. “Presidential candidate Nikki Haley heckled by Trump supporters at CPAC: ‘We love Trump!'” Fox News, 4 Mar. 2023,

9. “Five takeaways from this year’s CPAC” The Hill, 5 Mar. 2023,