Conservative group to audition Republican candidates for 2016

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 15, 2015 6:27 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of conservative activists will meet privately next month in suburban Washington to hear from potential Republican presidential candidates and determine who among them to support, a Republican involved in the effort said on Monday.

Many conservatives want one of their own as the 2016 Republican presidential nominee and would prefer to avoid establishment candidates such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to seek the nomination.

The session at a hotel in Tyson's Corner, which is in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, will take place on May 15 and 16, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Organizing the effort is the Council for National Policy, which includes representatives from a variety of conservative activist organizations.

The group will hear from those who are either in the 2016 race already or thinking about it, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The list was still being developed, the source said.

No single candidate is likely to emerge as the group's choice. Instead activists want to help clarify which of the candidates best represent their interests, according to the source.

Republicans in 2016 will consider a wide array of candidates. Leading the field at the moment are Bush and Wisconsin's Scott Walker.

Conservatives are excited about Walker, feeling he best represents their values, as well as Cruz.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who announced on Monday that he is a candidate, is also popular with conservatives, along with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

(Reporting By Steve Holland. Editing by Andre Grenon)