Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a Tea Party favorite and former Army officer, will be the keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend in Washington, D.C. West made the announcement via his Twitter account on Wednesday:

Tea Party Rep. Allen West Named CPAC Keynote Speaker“Giving West the spot is just one of the many bows to the relatively new Tea Party movement at CPAC, arguably the most important annual gathering of conservative lawmakers and activists,” The Hill reports. Fellow Tea Partier Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will deliver the opening address.

It was reported recently that Sarah Palin, also a Tea Party favorite, declined an invitation to deliver the keynote speech citing a scheduling conflict. That created some controversy yesterday when former GOP Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum commented on her absence — comments some reported were a “knock” but may have been taken out of context.

“By choosing West, CPAC sends an interesting message,” The Hill says. “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.”