WAHSHINGTON (CBS4) – The largest annual gathering of conservatives is underway in Washington, DC this week and it will feature a keynote speech from a new South Florida congressman who has become a lightning rod of controversy.

Representative Allen West is expected to give a keynote speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday. CPAC speeches have been used to jumpstart a campaign for larger office or to further solidify a speaker’s conservative credentials.

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Representative West is one of the rising stars in the “tea party” movement inside the Republican Party. He hasn’t shied away from any controversy and will likely provide a fiery speech to get the crowd going at CPAC.

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The conference annually attracts the biggest names from the right wing including: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Ann Coulter, Andrew Breitbart, and many others.

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One notable absence at the conference will be U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. Last year, Rubio received a significant bump by giving a major speech at CPAC. This year, he instead will be attending the Pinellas Lincoln Day Dinner.