- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may not have been invited to speak at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference — but his name has made CPAC’s presidential straw poll as one of the 23 listed hopefuls to be the GOP’s nominee in 2016.

Also making the list is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, another who wasn’t invited to speak, and a political newcomer, Dr. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon whose speech at the National Prayer Breakfast this year made him an instant conservative star.

The biggest name not on the list? Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is speaking Friday at CPAC. Mr. Bush asked that his name not be included in the poll, saying through a spokesman that it’s too early to speculate about 2016.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: CPAC 2019 - Latest news from the Conservative Political Action Conference

The straw poll, sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, is one of the highlights of the annual gathering of 8,000 conservative leaders and activists in town for the Thursday-through-Saturday event.

Among the questions this year are two about drones and national security, and whether conservatives approve of using drones to kill or spy on U.S. citizens not engaged in combat but working for the enemy.

Other questions get at the long-simmering debate between defense-hawk conservatives, social-issues conservatives and libertarians by asking about the role of U.S. power in the world.

SEE ALSO: Romney wins The Washington Times/CPAC Straw Poll in 2012

But it’s the presidential straw poll that always draws the most attention and gives an early boost to a lucky politician.

Though activists can write in another choice, this year’s list has 23 names, ranging from those such as Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, who are both expected to consider runs, to former candidates such as Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin.

Results will be released at the end of CPAC on Saturday.

List of names on the presidential ballot question:

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire

Gov. Jan Brewer, Arizona

Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas

Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon

Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels Indiana

Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina

Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana

Gov. John Kasich, Ohio

Gov. Susana Martinez, New Mexico

Gov. Bob McDonnell, Virginia

Former Gov. Sarah Palin, Alaska

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky

Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana

Gov. Rick Perry, Texas

Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida

Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania

Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina

Sen. John Thune, South Dakota

Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin

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