Fiorina courts lawmakers, scoops up endorsements on Capitol Hill

Fiorina courts lawmakers, scoops up endorsements on Capitol Hill
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Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina courted lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and scooped up a few endorsements on the way.
 
Fiorina fielded questions from and mingled with a few dozen Republican lawmakers and their chiefs of staff at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday afternoon. Later, she held a private meeting with Republican congresswomen from both chambers.
 
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Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), who is one of only two lawmakers to have endorsed Fiorina so far, said she spoke to a few members who said they are committed to supporting Fiorina and that the campaign will likely roll out the endorsements soon.
 
“You’re going to hear some endorsements,” Miller said. “I won’t mention their names right now because it’s up to the campaign or [the lawmakers] to do it, but there were several people who mentioned to me that they were thinking about endorsing her, and at least one or two that said they were going to endorse her. … She had a tremendous response.”
 
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said he’s been in contact with Fiorina throughout the campaign, and he’s down to supporting either Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) or Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He lauded Fiorina for offering a substantive pitch to lawmakers Wednesday.
 
“She shows a real grasp of the issues; she’s not into sound bites,” King said. “Whenever I’ve seen her, she’s shown real knowledge and she’s effective at communicating.”
 
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said he’s winnowed the candidates he’s considering supporting down to Fiorina and Rubio.
 
“She’s able to articulate where people are with this country, their frustration with the government and her passion to be able to do something about it,” Walker said. “She’s a strong woman and someone who certainly has gained my respect.”
 
Miller said several other members who have already endorsed other GOP candidates are waiting for them to drop out so they can switch over to Fiorina.
 
“The thing that I keep hearing is that people who have maybe endorsed another candidate have said that as soon as my person falls off, which there’s a whole group of them on the bubble about to fall off … that they would be looking at endorsing Carly,” Miller said. “I know she’s picked up some endorsements tonight.”
 
Fiorina on Wednesday attracted a diverse group of lawmakers, from establishment types such as King and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) to conservative insurgents in the House Freedom Caucus.
 
“It was a wide range of Republican members that were there,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). “Her message, her clarity and the passion with which she was speaking really resonated with the group.”
 
Freedom Caucus chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was on hand, as were caucus members, including Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), among others.
 
“She’s an outsider, and what a time to come to town when John Boehner just lost his job and we’re looking for someone new,” said Huelskamp. 
 
“What she’s hearing and seeing is the same thing I’m hearing and seeing, that the establishment here is on the way out. I think that’s probably why she drew so many folks here.”
 
Fiorina even drew candidates who have committed to her rivals.
 
“I think Carly is a remarkably articulate and principled lady,” said Franks, who has endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. “I was especially touched that she’s been so forthright and transparent about her commitment to protecting the innocent.”
 
Franks said he’d be happy to see a Huckabee-Fiorina ticket.
 
Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), a Bush supporter, also made the trip.
 
“Hey, she might win,” Webster said. “I was [impressed]. She’s very good, very good on her feet. But I’m with Jeb.”