Almost 2,000 political activists from three dozen states attended the 2013 Western Conservative Summit this past weekend to hear from national political figures, pundits, analysts and journalists on how the message of liberty, limited government, and free enterprise can widen its reach.
The 4th annual summit was presented by Centennial Institute, a public policy think tank affiliated with Colorado Christian University.
The event was held from July 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Denver and its Saturday program was simulcast live to hundreds of delegates attending the Arizona Western Conservative Summit at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center.
John Andrews, director of the Western Conservative Summit and the Centennial Institute, said, “Speakers from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and former Florida representative Allen West – all in their own way – said conservatives need to sharpen their message and expand their outreach if they want to build a majority coalition for the cultural and political challenges facing America."
On Sunday, a presidential straw poll was conducted and won by Cruz, who received multiple standing ovations during his Saturday speech. He won the straw poll with 225 votes, or 45 percent of the 504 votes cast. Walker, who presented Friday’s keynote address, captured 65 votes, or 13 percent.
At the summit, delegates heard from 17 political luminaries, analysts and journalists; attended 32 citizen action workshops, 11 book signings, four film screenings and one boot camp designed to help conservatives better craft their message.
In addition to the two potential presidential candidates (Cruz and Walker), delegates also heard from six national journalists, two former presidential cabinet-level experts, the co-founder of the Tea Party movement, and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show producer.
More than 40 credentialed members of the news media reported on the three-day event representing 20 media organizations. Pre-summit news coverage resulted in stories from nine states; while each day, news reports were picked up by national and local media with the highlight being a story by The Washington Times taking the top headline on the Drudge Report on Saturday, which touted more than 30 million visitors to the popular news aggregation website during the past 24 hours.
In addition, Discover Marketing, a social media marketing firm, managed social media activities resulting in the summit trending nationally on Twitter in the number 2 spot. And, two national journalists, Michael Sandoval and Michael Schaus reported daily from the media pool and posted articles on Centennial Institute’s blog which gave local and national news media official and credible source material.
Other Summit presenters included:
- Michael Barone, senior political analyst, Washington Examiner
- Guy Benson, political editor, Townhall.com
- Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center
- Francesca Chambers, editor, Red Alert Politics, contributor to The Washington Examiner
- KellyAnne Conway, president, The Polling Company/Woman Trend
- Cory Gardner, Colorado representative from the 4th Congressional District
- Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-Large, National Review Online
- James Golden “Bo Snerdley” (Rush Limbaugh’s radio show producer)
- Mary Katherine Ham, editor-at-Large, Hot Air.com and contributing ed., Townhall Magazine
- Victor Davis Hanson, historian and syndicated columnist
- Donald Hodel, former secretary of energy and interior under President Reagan
- K.T. McFarland, former deputy asst. secretary of defense for public affairs under President Reagan (1982 to 1985). Current national security commentator for Fox News
- Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder, Tea Party Patriots
- Dick Morris, author, commentator, pollster and consultant. Former advisor to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and President Clinton, campaign manager to Clinton’s re-election in 1996. Columnist for The New York Post
- Charles Murray, fellow at American Enterprise Institute
- Bill Whittle, commentator and video blogger
- Peter Wood, president, National Association of Scholars
As reported in The Denver Post (Monday, July 29, 2013), Andrews said, “There are discussions about developing a series of simultaneous conferences in California and Texas next year that would be video-linked. Andrews described that summit's idea as ‘contagious.’”
ABOUT THE CENTENNIAL INSTITUTE
The Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University works to enhance public understanding of the most important issues relating to faith, family and freedom. As part of this endeavor, the Institute focuses its efforts on conducting research, analyzing public policy options and sponsoring seminars, conferences, and other activities that involve students, faculty, staff and outside experts. For more information: www.ccu.edu/centennial.