Anxious to capitalize on a summer’s worth of anti-tax Tea Parties and the fierce public opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care reforms, over 1,000 California Republican delegates and activists ascended upon Indian Wells for the state Party’s semi-annual convention over the weekend – but one high-profile Republican was conspicuously absent, sparking criticism from attendees and her likely-primary opponent Chuck DeVore.
Citing the physical demands of her ongoing treatment for breast cancer, for which she was diagnosed last March, potential GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said her schedule of radiation treatments would not permit her attendance at the convention.
But the DeVore campaign has noted that, while Fiorina’s health curiously precluded her from attending the party gathering, she spent much of the following Monday campaigning in Fresno with ranchers and participated via satellite in Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women Summit.”
Laying the foundation for the belief that Fiorina is somehow casually exploiting her illness for the benefit of her campaign, State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore told The Fresno Bee he finds “it curious that her campaign said she was unable to make the convention for health reasons, and yet, … she was engaged in what appears to be a pretty standard, strenuous campaign day yesterday – the day after the convention.”
Indicative of his campaign’s reliance on rumor-mongering of a particularly vicious and fatuous sort, DeVore’s critics say his campaign’s latest assault on Fiorina is predicated on the notion that he can cobble together support among the GOP rank and file by fostering the double-edged rumor that his opponent is either too ill to campaign against Bay Area liberal Barbara Boxer or too liberal to campaign for the Republican nomination – or, perhaps, both.
“Carly says daily treatments keep her home, yet she campaigned Monday. Conclusion: as Pluto is no longer a planet, Monday is no longer a day,” wrote campaign spokesman Josh Treviño on Twitter.
Fiorina, whose campaign is stalled in the exploratory phase, will “continue to take day trips with a limited schedule, like she did in Fresno, in order to meet with people and hear first hand their concerns about our state and our country,” said spokeswoman Beth Miller.
Sources familiar with Fiorina’s event in Fresno say it was neither “strenuous” nor absent of conservatives, contending it was a casual agricultural campaign event. Moreover, the event in Fresno was conveniently—and necessarily—located near where Fiorina receives her radiation treatment – whereas Indian Wells is roughly 400 miles away.
As for Fiorina’s participation in Fortune’s summit, the suggestion that she is cherry-picking her appearances to deliberately avoid Republicans is asinine. And it’s particularly offensive when considering the topic. Fiorina and fellow cancer survivor Elizabeth Edwards spoke on behalf of “Stand up to Cancer,” a star-studded campaign to fund cancer research, both of whom were unable to attend in-person due to their treatment regimen.
Fiorina, who is in the final weeks of radiation treatment, is expected to make a definitive announcement about her intentions to run for Senate in the coming weeks.
But should she ultimately decide to challenge Boxer, California Republican activists should expect to see Fiorina at the next state GOP convention in February – healthy.