Matt Lewis
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has yet to officially throw her hat into the ring for Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat in California -- but that hasn't stopped conservative bloggers from bringing the heat.

A post yesterday on RedState cites news that Fiorina will not self-fund her Senate race, should she decide to run.  A call to her exploratory committee, Carly for California, led me to Beth Miller who told me that, in fact, Carly has never said she would self-fund and had made that clear from the outset to the folks at the Republican National Senatorial Committee. 

“Carly has said all along that she would not self-fund and would actively raise money from both big and small donors,” Miller said.

Miller added that, as with many candidates, Fiorina will support her own effort but it will not be in a fashion that some have come to expect from California candidates. (Read: Silicon Valley Billionaires and CA candidates for Governor Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner.) 

Apparently her position not to self-fund also didn’t come as a surprise to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.  The NRSC has not currently endorsed any candidate for this race.

Of course, for conservatives who have grown understandably skeptical of the NRSC (and their support of candidates like establishment figure Charlie Crist over conservative Marco Rubio) -- their comment is of little import. 

And Fiorina's decision not to self-fund is not the only thing of interest.  RedState's piece implies Fiorina may be violating FEC rules by not formally filing for office:
FEC rules require that if a candidate receives or spends $5000.00, the candidate must begin formal filings with the FEC as a candidate. Given Fiorina’s hire of big-money consultants like Hollywood-based Fred Davis, you’d think Carly for California would have burned through that limit in about twenty minutes.
As one source emailed me, "If I had to guess, I'd say Carly for California blew through $5,000 well before Labor Day. (A poll, an official spokeswoman, Fred Davis, Dresner Wickers and Marty Wilson don't come cheap!)"
 
Aside from the FEC/self-funding controversy, Fiorina also finds herself defending her positions on a range of hot-button issues, including everything from Life to bailouts. 

Her team assures me she is, in fact, pro-Life (as backed up by this LA Times mention) and that she opposed Obama's "stimulus" (they point to her comments during an appearance on "This Week" as evidence). 

It is probably safe to say that Fiorina will not be the most conservative candidate in the primary race.  But conservatives may also want to ask: Is she the most conservative candidate with a realistic chance of ousting Barbara Boxer in California?

I don't know the answer to that -- nobody does.  It's too early to tell if Fiorina's background, experience, and connections will be baggage -- or a huge plus for her.  But as conservatives seek to take back seats in 2010, these are questions worth asking ... 

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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