(CNN) - Votes are still being counted in some states, but conservatives stinging from last night’s losses are planning to get together to plan the movement’s future — and so far, it doesn’t look like that vision includes John McCain.
McCain, who made a poorly-received appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference last year, was not included on a list of major movement figures invited to next year’s gathering e-mailed to supporters Wednesday morning. More than a dozen conservative leaders made the cut — including McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have also been invited to address CPAC in February, along with McCain’s former primary season rivals Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
“At CPAC 1975, one speech initiated the conservative comeback,” American Conservative Union president David Keene wrote on the invitation to the group’s annual meeting, citing Ronald Reagan’s encouraging words to activists after the “disastrous” post-Watergate election losses of 1974. “CPAC friends, it's imperative that we continue to fight for conservative principles despite recent losses. We face new challenges, but our principles are timeless.”
Last year, McCain faced a thorny reception during a rare appearance at the gathering, as his visit – and even the mention of his name – drew boos from many in attendance.
Romney narrowly beat the Arizona senator, 35 to 34 percent, in the conference’s presidential straw poll of conservative political activists. The result came even though it was clear that McCain, who had addressed the group that week, would be the Republican Party’s nominee — and even though Romney had ended his presidential run there earlier in the conference. The announcement of Romney’s win was greeted by cheers from the crowd, angry over McCain’s past positions on immigration policy.
UPDATE: CPAC Director Lisa De Pasquale said in an e-mail that the list included in the message sent to past CPAC attendees this morning was not complete.
"With the exception of Gov. Palin, who confirmed in early April after having to drop out of CPAC 2008 at the last minute, very few invitations (Jindal and Pence) were sent to elected officials because of the volatility of the November elections," she wrote. "Now that the election has passed, we will begin inviting other elected officials."