Hundreds of conservatives gathered near St. Louis this weekend for pep rally-style speeches and panel discussions. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was one of several lawmakers who spoke at the regional Conservative Political Action Conference in St. Charles, Missouri. Headlining the event were Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, both of whom ran for president in 2012. The budget battle in Washington caused many Republican U.S. representatives and senators to cancel plans to attend the conference at the last minute. The event is sponsored by the American Conservative Union.