Hillary Clinton will not attend the Netroots Nation liberal organizing conference next month due to a scheduling conflict, organizers confirmed to msnbc, skipping the marquee annual progressive gathering for a second year in a row.
Fellow Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders will both hold town hall style meetings at the conference scheduled for July 16-19 in Phoenix, Arizona. Clinton will be holding events that weekend in Iowa and Arkansas.
“Our campaign looks forward to earning the support of the Democrats participating in this conference but Hillary Clinton has scheduling conflicts which will prevent her from attending. She wishes them the best on their conference,” said Clinton campaign spokesperson Jesse Ferguson.
Former Sen. Jim Webb was not invited because he has not declared whether he will run for the Democratic nomination. Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who was a Republican until 2013 and joined the 2016 presidential race as a Democrat, was also not invited.
“We don’t have plans to invite Chafee,” said Netroots Nation executive director Raven Brooks. “We’re going to continue to look at the field as it evolves but since it is a town hall format we don’t want to steal time from the candidates we have on board just to be inclusive.”
Netroots, originally started by DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas to organize online opposition to the Iraq War, is perhaps the largest annual gathering of progressive movement activists in the country, and often attracts Democratic candidates and officeholders.
Clinton was invited to attend last year as well, but did not. Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave the keynote address and the super PAC Ready for Warren used the speech to kick off their effort to draft the senator.
With Warren still refusing to consider a White House bid, Ready for Warren recently decided to switch their allegiance to Sanders, who has quickly become a favorite of progressive activists.
Clinton attended the conference in 2007, along with most of the other Democratic presidential candidates that year, including Barack Obama. Her campaign offered a top level surrogate to speak on her behalf this year, but organizers wanted attendees to hear from the candidates themselves.
The AP first reported the news that Clinton would not be attending.