CPAC COMES TO COLORADO: American Conservative Union Announces October Conservative Confab In Denver

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is coming to Colorado. This morning, the American Conservative Union (ACU) announced that they are bringing their popular conservative confab to Denver on October 4, 2012, only a day after the first Presidential debate is scheduled to be held at the University of Denver.

From their press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Al Cardenas today announced that the legendary Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is going back on the road this fall, hosting the second in a series of 2012 regional CPACs in Denver, Colorado. Scheduled for Thursday, October 4, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport, CPAC Colorado will energize and mobilize Mountain West conservatives, giving them the tools needed to defeat the liberal agenda in 2012, while also highlighting rising conservative stars and issues in the region. Online registration is now available at

“CPAC Colorado takes the fight for the future of America directly to a critical battleground state, the site of innumerable broken promises made to the American people in Denver the night President Obama accepted his party’s nomination in 2008. Denver will also host the first Presidential debate, where—the night before CPAC Colorado—President Obama’s failed record will be on full display,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. “At a time when the future of America is hanging in the balance, it is critical to unite and mobilize conservatives for the fight of 2012 and beyond.”  

The ACU has hosted national CPAC since 1973, and it now stands as the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the nation. For CPAC Colorado, ACU will bring national and regional leaders together with local grassroots activists for a day of blockbuster speeches, policy discussions and networking opportunities—all celebrating the shared principles of smaller government, a strong national defense and traditional values.  

CPAC Colorado’s invited speakers include: U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, U.S. Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), U.S. Representative Raúl Labrador (R-ID), U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO), New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Former Governor Mitt Romney, and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.

This will come at a pivotal time in the race, firing up the conservative grassroots just as the campaign hits its final push.

It is also likely to draw large quantities of conservatives from across the nation and region to Denver just in time to rally outside the first debate, surely welcome news to Romney campaign organizers. 


ACU COMES TO COLORADO: National Conservative Group To Start Rating Colorado Legislators

The national conservative group, American Conservative Union (ACU), known for its "gold-standard" ratings of Congress is coming to Colorado. Last week the group that owns and runs the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) announced that it would add the Colorado Legislature to its growing list of state legislatures it will grade.

ACU has been grading Congress on its votes since 1971 and its ratings have appeared in countless TV commercials and radio spots, especially in GOP primaries. 

Last year the ACU began rating state legislators votes, starting with an initial five states including Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. This year the group is adding Colorado in addition to California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“Building on our legacy at the federal level, one of the American Conservative Union’s chief goals is ensuring voters know where their state elected representatives stand on the issues most important to conservatives,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas in a press release. “In its first year, our State Legislative Ratings program was extraordinarily well received – garnering significant attention from state legislators, grassroots leaders and activists and the media. The ACU is proud to expand this successful young initiative to a total of 15 states in the critical 2012 election year.”

This is a great thing for conservatives, adding another piece of data to analyze the voting records of state Representatives and Senators. It will also complement the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) scorecard, which has been criticized for some erroneous ratings — like putting conservative stalwart Senator Brophy at only 55/100 in 2011 (PDF). All rating systems have their shortcomings, as they depend on what bills the group decides to include. Having more ratings will allow for a more vibrant understanding of conservatism in the Capitol. 

It is also a mark of the importance of Colorado to the national political dialogue. Colorado's smashing 2-1 defeat of the $3 billion tax increase known as Prop 103 helped send the signal to politicians across the country that Americans feel they are Taxed Enough Already. What happens here matters.

With Colorado set to be a deciding state in the Presidential election, national political observers will be watching what happens here. The message that the ACU is sending by rating Colorado legislators is that the national spotlight is here to stay. 


CPAC Wrap Up

The annual get-together for young conservative activists, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), ended on Saturday, but its impact will last long beyond.

As with any massive political gathering with the potential for news coverage, CPAC had its share of lime-light loving pols and personalities. This candidate cattle-call drew its fair share of also-rans and political oddities, from NY Gubernatorial “The Rent is Too Damn High” Party candidate, Jimmy Macmillan, to perennial potential Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

But the Donald has a trump card in notorious dirty trickster and political consultant, Roger Stone, who made the case for a Trump candidacy on his website, Stone Zone. For anyone looking to learn more about Trump’s shall we say, colorful, consultant check out the Weekly Standard profile on Stone here or the New Yorker write-up here.

Beyond the attendees looking for nothing more than a mention in the press, there were many 2012 potential who took their turn at the plate. CPAC offers one of the first major events of the cycle to reach out to a core audience of young conservatives. Originally started by President Reagan, CPAC has become an amateur racetrack of sorts for any candidate with national ambitions to test-drive their message. If you want to see if your message sells, give it a shot at CPAC.

Some speeches brought the house down (Newt Gingrich) while others lacked much of a punch (Gary Johnson). One surprise was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels whose speech earned the much-coveted Drudge Report lead story placement. Daniels got himself in trouble a little while ago when he called for a truce on social issues, but the CPAC crowd seemed no less enamored of him.

A number of social conservative groups, such as the Family Research Council, boycotted CPAC over its inclusion of a gay conservative group, GOProud. It didn’t seem to affect attendance, with the CPAC notching the largest attendance yet, at over 11,000 attendees.

Like most political gatherings on the Presidential campaign circuit, CPAC had its own straw poll.

The winner? Ron Paul.

Since the 2008 campaign, Ron Paul followers have developed a seeming expertise in winning straw polls. 

Since 2012 is the first Presidential cycle to include the Tea Party influence, the question still to be answered is: do Ron Paul supporters stick by their man or will the bevy of other Tea Party favored candidates like Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin gain their loyalty? Beyond that, will a Ron Paul candidacy show splits in the Tea Party, between Ron Paul libertarians and conservative activists less enamored with his views on cutting defense spending?

One thing is for sure – the 2012 cycle is on and its cast of characters will surely deliver a spirited contest.

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