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CPAC has held 38 annual meetings in the D.C. area but never outside the Washington Beltway.

“We are working hand-in-hand with local think tanks, tea party groups and conservative elected leaders in the state,” said CPAC Chairman Al Cardenas, a former Florida GOP chairman who lives in Miami.

“It’s working,” he said.

He said more than 3,000 activists will be in attendance at Friday’s Florida CPAC and after Thursday night’s debate and Friday’s CPAC, “delegates will have had a chance to see live and in person the candidates that they will be voting for on Saturday. This has never happened before and the performance of the candidates at these prior events is bound to impact the outcome of the straw poll.”

He added that “since it’s a convening of GOP activists, I am forecasting that the better polling candidates will do rather well.”

Fox News Channel is broadcasting the debate on Thursday at 9 p.m. and C-SPAN is covering the 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. candidates’ speeches Friday at CPAC.