But his efforts to portray himself as a centrist in blue-state New Jersey and compromise with Democrats have attracted anger from the conservative wing of his party.
CPAC organizers said the popular Republican governor wasn’t invited this year because of his attacks on GOP lawmakers for holding up a disaster-relief bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy, according to reports.
Christie also raised conservative hackles for praising Obama’s response to the storm during the final days of the presidential campaign. Obama visited the state and traveled with Christie to the hardest-hit areas a week before Election Day, moves which were seen as damaging to GOP contender Mitt Romney.
Earlier this week, Christie also became the eighth GOP governor to accept the Medicaid expansion in Obama’s signature healthcare reform law. Christie explained that he disagreed with the law, but would not reject federal funds that could benefit New Jerseyans.
A number of other high-profile GOP leaders have been invited to attend the 2013 conference, including Romney, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Former Govs. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) and Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) have also been confirmed.
CPAC is seen as an important stop for potential presidential contenders. Christie spoke at the 2012 conference.