Fiorina Enhances Her Tea Party Credentials With Help From The Koch Brothers

September 23, 2010 11:47 am ET — Fae Jencks

Carly Fiorina

As if we needed any more evidence of the Koch brothers' influence on the conservative movement and the rise of the Tea Party, news recently broke that California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina will be attending a fundraiser in Washington, DC tonight sponsored by none other than the Koch Industries PAC.

The fundraiser comes on the heels of nearly simultaneous expressions of support for California's Proposition 23 (a measure to suspend California's global warming legislation until unemployment in the state drops below 5.5%) by Fiorina and the Koch brothers.

Fiorina's ties to the Koch brothers are unsurprising, given her enthusiastic embrace of the Tea Party movement. As the Los Angeles Times noted on Sunday, Fiorina is increasingly associating herself with the Tea Party and credits it with being "a tremendous help to [her] campaign." Unlike California's Republican candidate for Governor, Meg Whitman, who the Times suggests is moving "away from the conservative rhetoric she used during the primary," Fiorina is embracing the ultraconservative Tea Party and is viewed by the group as a kindred spirit.

"But Fiorina has embraced the movement, telling reporters after the event that the "tea parties have been a tremendous help to my campaign." In a dig at Boxer, she added that O'Donnell's victory this week was the latest evidence that voters had concluded that "people who have been in politics all their life aren't the solution."

Fiorina's trip to Clovis, eight days after she spoke to a tea party group in Marin County, also reflected her continuing efforts to energize core conservative voters.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has backed away from the conservative rhetoric she used during the primary on immigration and climate change as she has tried to appeal moderate and independent voters. And she has not held any public campaign events with tea party groups since the primary. Fiorina, however, has hewed closely to her conservative stances and welcomed their support."

It makes perfect sense that Fiorina would cozy up to a movement known for its support of extremely right-wing candidates given how at odds her conservative positions are with the voters of California. Certainly, as the Times suggests, she is trying to ride the wave of Tea Party support that gave us candidates like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle. This Koch Foundation-sponsored fundraiser is simply Fiorina's latest attempt to disguise her record of failure behind the purported "populism" of the Tea Party.

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