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Fiorina to head to Washington for fundraising trip

September 21, 2010 | 10:12 pm

With the California Senate race in a dead heat, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina and her opponent Sen. Barbara Boxer are in the midst of a fundraising sprint before the next report is due on Sept. 30. Fiorina heads to Washington, D.C., later this week for a series of fundraisers, including one co-hosted by the political action committee of Koch Industries, whose founders have been longtime supporters of conservative causes and more recently major backers of a ballot measure that would roll back California’s global warming law.

Proposition 23, which would suspend the state’s global warming law until unemployment drops to 5.5% for a year, has been a tricky issue for Fiorina and Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Both candidates hammered the state’s global warming law as “a job-killer” during the primary, but held off taking a position on the ballot measure. Fiorina finally came out in favor of Proposition 23 earlier this month shortly after her first debate with Barbara Boxer, a position that could galvanize her support among conservatives who worry that the law could lead to job losses. But it could also cost Fiorina support in the Silicon Valley. Whitman has yet to take a stand.

A subsidiary of the Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries contributed a million dollars to the campaign supporting Proposition 23 earlier this month. The Koch Industries political action committee contributed to Fiorina before she announced her support for the ballot measure -- giving her $5,000 after the primary in June.

With less than two weeks before the end of the next fundraising period, Fiorina is under pressure to show that she can compete with Boxer’s fundraising efforts. At the end of the June 30 reporting period, Boxer reported nearly 12 times more cash on hand than Fiorina. Aides to the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive point out, however, that Fiorina had just wrapped up a contentious primary race against two opponents while Boxer had no significant Democratic opposition.

Fiorina will hold a series of fundraisers in Washington beginning Thursday, according to a source familiar with GOP fundraising efforts. The events include one sponsored by Patton Boggs, a law and lobbying firm, another sponsored by members of the financial services industry and a third described as a Republican women’s event.

Along with other Washington luminaries and lobbyists, the political action committee of Koch Industries will be one of 26 co-hosts for a Fiorina fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Thursday evening that will be headlined by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Jon Kyl and Sen. John Cornyn, according to the fundraising invitation posted on the website of the Sunlight Foundation.

Fiorina is expected to round out her fundraising schedule Saturday evening at an Alexandria, Va., event hosted by Virginia’s Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell.

Asked about the fundraisers, Fiorina's spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Fiorina "is not beholden to anyone, unlike Barbara Boxer who voted for the Wall Street bailout after $3 million in donations from the financial industry."

-- Maeve Reston and Tom Hamburger