Values Voter Summit snubs Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was not invited to this weekend's Values Voter Summit, a traditional pitstop for presidential hopefuls.

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An aide confirmed to The Hill that Christie had not been invited to the summit, which brings together conservative activists and leaders from across the nation for a three-day powwow in Washington, D.C.

Other 2016 contenders will speak at the event, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who have both expressed interest in a 2016 presidential run, are also scheduled to speak.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The Hill that Christie wasn't invited because "we only invited conservatives that we work with."

Perkins has previously criticized Christie, and said in 2011 that the governor "would have a difficult time gaining a lot of support from social conservatives" if he ran in 2012.

Christie wasn't invited to another conservative confab, the Conservative Political Action Conference, earlier this year. 

The New Jersey governor has drawn the ire of conservatives primarily because of his friendly relationship with President Obama and more centrist positions on certain issues.

Just days before the election, Christie praised the president's handling of Hurricane Sandy, which battered his state — a move that some conservatives felt helped deliver the vote to Obama.

And he's butted heads with conservatives, most notably Paul, on foreign policy. 

Christie's absence from the conservative summit could be beneficial for the governor as he works to burnish his centrist appeal while facing a reelection fight in a blue state. But it's an early indication of the trouble he could face in wooing social conservatives in 2016, a voting bloc that dominates many of the early primary contests. 

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