CPAC First Big Test for Republican Presidential Primary

The Conservative Political Action Conference, hosted by the American Conservative Union, is the national mecca of all things conservative held annually in Washington, DC. This year’s event is proving to be unparalleled ahead of the 2016 hunt for the White House.

Tradition has held for at least the last few presidential cycles that Republican White House hopefuls descend upon the event in hopes that a fiery, red-meat speech to the largely hard-right crowd may serve as a launch pad for the party’s next nominee.

This year’s event, which opened yesterday, will be the last before the 2016 primary is in full swing; next year’s event may come well after at least half of the candidates have already dropped out of the race.

But a new format change in how the prospective candidates address the attendees could entirely change how they are received and therefore how they perform in the event’s all-important straw poll.

According to ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp, this year’s presidential speakers will be allotted only 12 minutes to deliver remarks before opening up to questions on a range of subjects. Fox News host Sean Hannity has been selected to pose the questions.

Unlike any year previous, the 2015 CPAC candidate sessions will give important insight into which candidates might perform best in the Republican primary debates, which play a critical role in determining for Republican voters who can best carry the water for the party.