The Washington Times - February 18, 2013, 10:50AM

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, will return to the political stage to address the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference next month in Maryland.

“We are pleased to again welcome Governor Sarah Palin to CPAC in March,” said Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organized the high-profile conservative get-together. “Governor Palin electrified the crowd in 2012 and we are thrilled to welcome her back this year.”

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CPAC will be held March 14-16, 2013, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.

Other confirmed speakers include a number of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee. Heritage Foundation President-elect Jim DeMint, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will also appear.

Mrs. Palin rocketed into the spotlight after Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, tapped her to be his running mate more than four years ago.

She became a darling within some conservative circles almost overnight, injecting new energy into Mr. McCain’s campaign, but also proving a lightning rod for liberal critics.

Following the election, Mrs. Palin announced that she would not seek another term as governor and decided against a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. She retained her visibility with a regular spot as a Fox News commentator — a job she recently left — and through key endorsements of GOP candidates in state and federal races.