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CPAC's Schlapp: Florida picked to host 2021 event over Georgia after it 'stumbled' in 2020 elections

Former President Trump was invited to speak at this year's event, but so far has not indicated his intention one way or the other.

Updated: February 18, 2021 - 7:36pm

The organizer of the annual CPAC event, considered the country's largest gathering each year of grassroots conservatives, said Thursday that he decided to relocate the gathering to Florida instead of Georgia because leaders of the once-reliable red state mishandled the vote counting in the 2020 presidential elections.

"Georgia then really stumbled on the elections," Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual event, said Thursday on "Just the News AM." 

He also said Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp "really stumbled on making sure we couldn't get illegal votes out of the count. So that narrowed down the choices. I think we've made the right choice in Florida. But we'll find out next week."

Former President Trump, whom Schlapp said he has invited to the Orlando event, lost Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden by a margin of 49.5% to 49.2%. The event is considered a must stop for any potential GOP presidential candidate trying to garner support from the party's conservative base.

Schlapp said that CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, has been held for 50 consecutive years and that he wanted to keep the streak alive after Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan "cancelled us," with COVID health-safety rules that made hosting the event in that state impossible this year.

He said other states on the shortlist to host the 2021 event included Tennessee and Texas. However, he and others at CPAC picked Florida because GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis had the state "open for business." 

"De Santis, who's quickly becoming America's governor, welcomed us with open arms," Schlapp told show host Carrie Sheffield. "I think you will see a cavalcade of the senators, congressmen, governors, media personalities, writers, journalists, you name it, that you normally see at CPAC. And I think it's an important moment for the conservative movement to come together. You know, we've been through some pretty traumatic moments." 

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