The annual event has grown into an opportunity for rising GOP stars to address conservative activists who play key roles in the nominating process. Speakers this year include tea party favorites Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Delegates also will hear from 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was slated to address the opening session Thursday evening, as was reality television star Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch who has become a pop culture icon among some conservatives for his outspoken Christian faith.