Project New West gives Colorado's Democratic powers a Vegas respite from Occupy Denver

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Amid the regrouping of Occupy Denver, which was booted out of Lincoln Park but is still growing as a movement, the state's official Democratic political power brokers are in Las Vegas, at "Project New West Summit: A Roadmap for the West in 2012," which today includes an appearance by Governor John Hickenlooper.

The gathering of "the West's most influential and successful civic and business leaders," as the Denver-based Project New West bills the seminar, has attracted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, media mogul (and honoree) Ted Turner, and Coloradans ranging from Hickenlooper to former governor Bill Ritter (talking about green energy) to Senator Michael Bennet, Senator Mark Udall, Representative Diana DeGette, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, political strategist Mike Stratton and Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Associates, who'll be on the Hickenlooper panel titled "Creating Jobs and Fostering Economic Stability in the West."

One of the primary contacts for the event had no problem finding a job: Ethan Axelrod, the former Denver editor of the Huffington Post, and the son of Barack Obama strategist David Axelrod, is now with Project New West.

But then, Project New West, which was founded in 2007, calls itself "the leading authority on the values, issues, and demographics that define America's 'New West'' -- the eight state region that includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming," a region, according to the seminar's advance materials, that will "continue to hold the key to electoral success."

The summit ends tonight with a panel on the 2012 Western Political Landscape -- and then will get out of town just in time for tomorrow night's Republican presidential candidates to occupy Las Vegas in advance of yet another debate.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Occupy Denver: John Hickenlooper and Michael Hancock have a stinky mess on their hands."

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