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Fiorina avoids Sarah Palin rally as general election nears [Updated]

October 6, 2010 |  1:31 pm

Warning: Sarah Palin can be bad for your political health. That's the finding of a new survey from the Field Poll.

Palin is scheduled to appear in Anaheim on Oct. 16 to help California Republicans. But it appears the two women at the top of the GOP ticket are opting to stay away.

U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina was boosted by Palin's endorsement in the Republican primary. But now that the general election is underway, Fiorina is opting to keep her distance. [Updated 4:00 p.m.] A spokesman for Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman confirmed that Whitman would also skip the Oct. 16 rally with Palin.

"“It is a national [Republican National Committee] fundraiser and we are unable to attend because we have another campaign event scheduled,” said Whitman spokesman Tucker Bounds.
Fiorina’s spokeswoman said the Republican Senate candidate has other events scheduled on the day of Palin’s appearance in Orange County.

At a tooling plant in Huntington Beach Wednesday, Fiorina said she was “happy” to have Palin’s endorsement and noted “there are all sorts of people who have endorsed me that I don’t appear with.” (She cited moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine as one example).

“Look, Sarah Palin is here for important reasons of her own, and meanwhile I have 27 days left to talk to the people of California about the issues that matter in this race and so that’s what I’m going to go do,” Fiorina said speaking to reporters Wednesday. “I’m happy to accept the endorsement of many, many folks who have been supportive of my campaign—whether they are people like Sarah Palin or Democrats or Independents.”

The two women do not know one another well, according to aides, even though Fiorina was an advisor in 2008 to then president candidate John McCain, who chose Palin as his running mate.

But Fiorina’s aides have credited Palin’s endorsement of Fiorina, who she counts among her ‘Mama Grizzlies,’ as sealing her conservative credentials in her three-way primary race.

Fiorina’s campaign manager Marty Wilson has described the distribution of a mailer alerting voters of Palin’s endorsement of Fiorina as a turning point in the primary race that boosted Fiorina into a 13-point lead in the campaign’s internal polls in just one day. With each of the three candidates arguing over who was most conservative, Palin’s backing “gave us credibility among conservatives, more so than anything else,” Wilson said in an interview before the primary.

The two never appeared together on the campaign trail during the primary, but Palin recorded a call praising Fiorina as a “commonsense conservative” that targeted some 650,000 likely Republican voters in the final days before the primary election.

--Maeve Reston and Anthony York

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