On the eve of the annual conservative bash known as CPAC, the titans of the movement are gathering Wednesday night to determine who the best lawmakers, journalists, activists and staffers are in the business.

Maybe the hardest choice for those attending the Weyrich Awards sponsored by Coalitions for America: who is the top Washington lawmaker, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Darrell Issa or Sen. Marco Rubio?

The annual event is adding something new this year. It has renamed the award for congressional staffer of the year for Michael Schwartz, the former chief of staff to Sen. Tom Coburn who succumbed to A.L.S. on February 2.

"Mike Schwartz was a dear and valued friend to the conservative movement and he worked tirelessly to further the conservative cause in every aspect of his life," said Colin Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring.

"Mike was an extraordinary servant and faithful leader," added Coburn. "He showed everyone--by his life, his deeds and words--that things that are unseen are the things that matter."

The award represent a chance for bragging rights among three Washington Examiner columnists. Tim Carney, David Freddoso and Byron York are up for the "media person of the year."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be the keynote speaker at the dinner being held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The awards are named after the late Paul Weyrich, a conservative leader and commentator.

The list:

National Legislator of the Year

Congressman Darrell Issa

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Rand Paul

State or Local Elected Official of the Year

Governor Bobby Jindal

Governor Nikki Haley

Governor Sam Brownback

Faith Community Leader of the Year

Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

Youth Leader of the Year

Alex Schriver, National Chairman, College Republican National Committee

Katie Pavlich, News Editor of Townhall.com and author of "Fast and Furious"

Lila Rose, President, Live Action

Grassroots Organization of the Year

Competitive Enterprise Institute

National Right to Work Committee

Susan B. Anthony List

Michael Schwartz Congressional Staffer of the Year

Ed Corrigan, Senate Steering Committee (Senator Jim DeMint)

Wesley Goodman, Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach, Republican Study Committee

William Smith, Senate Budget Committee (Senator Jeff Sessions)

Freshman Legislator of the Year for the 112th Congress

Senator Mike Lee

Senator Pat Toomey

Senator Ron Johnson

Outstanding New Organization of the Year

Ending Spending


Heritage Action

Courage in the Face of Power

Daniel Award

Dan Cathy, President and COO, Chick-fil-A

David Green, President, Hobby Lobby

Leo Johnson, Family Research Council

Conservative Hall of Fame Award

Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., Retiring President, Heritage Foundation

Hon. Edwin Meese, III

Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President, Focus on the Family

Media Person of the Year

Byron York

David Freddoso

Tim Carney