The Western Conservative Summit, held over the weekend in Colorado, drew three of the top five candidates in the 2016 Republican presidential race — Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee — plus Carly Fiorina, who has emerged as the most talked-about newcomer in the campaign, and two 2012 veterans, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry.
Taking place in a key swing state, attracting a large crowd of social conservatives and beginning on the day the Supreme Court issued its landmark gay marriage decision, the speeches and the hallway chatter at the Summit pointed to several themes that could shape the 2016 race in coming weeks and months. Among them:
1.) Ben Carson is moving up. The retired neurosurgeon won the Summit’s straw poll with 26 percent of the vote….
2.) Carly Fiorina is moving up, too. The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard finished second in the straw poll, with 22 percent of the vote, but probably won the buzz contest.