Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) will deliver the keynote address at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, according to a tweet from the congressman himself on Wednesday morning.
"I've been asked today to have the honor of giving the closing keynote address at CPAC Saturday," wrote West. "I'm humbled."
"We're disappointed that she wasn't able to make it this year," CPAC organizer David Keene reportedly said through a spokesman.
Palin issued a statement to the Washington Post explaining why she turned down the speaking opportunity. "February is our busiest winter month and with all the prior obligations and outside travel already scheduled for the month I had to forgo some of the opportunities in the Lower 48," she wrote in an e-mail.
The Hill reports:
By choosing West, CPAC sends an interesting message. The Florida freshman hasn't been afraid to clash with the GOP leadership in the House, and he enjoys a unique status as just one of two black Republicans elected in the House.
West was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives last November with support from the Tea Party movement.
The CPAC website highlights other confirmed speakers for this year's conference, including: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and more.