Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is getting the backing of Sarah Palin in her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in California.
In a statement released May 6, and further in comments on her Facebook page, Palin, the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate, praised Fiorina’s business resume and her conservative political positions. Palin said that Fiorina gave the Republicans the best change to unseat incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer.
“Please consider that Carly is the conservative who has the potential to beat California’s liberal senator, Barbara Boxer, in November,” Palin said in her release. “I’m a huge proponent of contested primaries, so I’m glad to see the contest in California’s GOP, but I support Carly as she fights through a tough primary against a liberal member of the GOP who seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer, one of the most leftwing members of the Senate.”
That “liberal member of the GOP” is Tom Campbell, a former Republican Congressman who at one time was running for governor-against former eBay CEO Meg Whitman-but switched to the Senate campaign in January.
Fiorina currently is running second behind Campbell, but ahead of Chuck DeVore, a Republican state assemblyman who has gotten the endorsement of several Tea Party factions. Palin also is a favorite of the Tea Party groups, though that wasn’t enough to keep her from endorsing Fiorina.
“Carly is the Commonsense Conservative that California needs and our country could sure use in these trying times,” Palin said.
Fiorina gladly accepted Palin’s endorsement.
“I am honored and grateful to have Sarah Palin’s support,” Fiorina said in a statement. “She, too, is a political outsider and a strong fiscal conservative, and we share a common concern for the direction our country is headed in under Barbara Boxer and her allies in Washington.”
In its own statement, Campbell’s campaign said Palin’s endorsement “now settles the IOU from the 2008 election cycle,” adding that “California voters are not buying that a failed CEO can be an effective U.S. Senator.”
Fiorina was an adviser for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Palin. Given that that is the extent of her political history until now, Fiorina is largely running on her business resume, in particular her controversial six-year tenure as HP’s CEO.
Even during the campaign, there appears to be a split among people in the tech field. HP heir Arianna Packard has been vocal in her opposition to Fiorina, accusing her in a letter of “almost [destroying] the company my grandfather founded.”
However, former Intel CEO Craig Barrett, in an op-ed column in the San Jose Mercury News April 4, defended Fiorina and her tenure at HP, particularly her decision to buy Compaq Computer for $25 billion in 2002.
“The merger of HP and Compaq was an unqualified success,” Barrett wrote. “It helped transform HP into the largest computer manufacturer in the world and provided a strong foundation for HP’s current success under its very capable management team.”
The primary is scheduled for June 8.