From the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Where have all the elected officials gone? The Family Research Council’s (FRC) annual Values Voter Summit (VVS), set for the end of September, is fast approaching. But unlike prior years, very few high profile politicians have confirmed their participation. And the current line up seems more extreme than ever. Could this annual rite of passage, a must attend event for politicians courting social conservatives, be losing its luster?
This year, the VVS’s confirmed speakers list is nearly bereft of high level office holders. As of today, the confirmed speakers holding elective office totals four: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Governor Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas), the biggest cowboy of the bunch. The lineup is a far cry from last year, when 16 federal and state officials participated. Among them were GOP luminaries Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). This time around, Ryan was until early August listed as an invited speaker, but his name has been pulled. A call to Ryan’s office to find out why was not answered.
The situation could of course change in the coming weeks. Right now, there are a handful of elected officials listed as invited to the event, but not confirmed: U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Gov. Phil Bryan (R-Miss.) and U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). Calls and emails to their offices to determine if they will be speaking at VVS went unreturned.
The SPLC notes that there will no shortage of hate groups on hand. In addition to the host Family Research Council, attending will be Liberty Counsel, the World Congress of Families, the American Family Association, NOM, the Red-Caped Catholic Loons, PFOX, Summit Ministries, and the Family Policy Council.