LOUISVILLE (AP) — Carly Fiorina is campaigning for Rand Paul in Kentucky, reuniting the two one-time presidential candidates as part of the Kentucky senator’s slow but steady re-election campaign.
Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, appeared at a fundraiser for Paul at the Louisville home of Cathy Bailey, who was ambassador to Latvia under former President George W. Bush and a major Republican donor. Fiorina and Paul both sought the Republican nomination for president, only to falter beneath the weight of presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
During their many presidential debates together, Fiorina said there was always a moment when a candidate has an opportunity to say something important.
“There were some candidates who let those moments pass by. They didn’t say what they really believed; they didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to educate and inspire,” she said. “And I saw Rand Paul never miss a moment.”
Fiorina has since traveled the country campaigning for Republican candidates, while Paul set his sights on winning re-election to his U.S. Senate seat with an eye toward helping fellow U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell keep his job as majority leader. But the presidential campaign took its toll on Paul, and the most recent fundraising reports show him nearly neck and neck with Democratic challenger Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington and a wealthy businessman who loaned his campaign $1 million.
Gray has held news conferences in front of Paul’s Senate offices criticizing him for not voting for Democratic-backed gun control measures in light of the Orlando shooting, while Paul backed other measures supported by Republicans. And Gray has criticized Paul for voting against an appropriations bill that included billions of dollars for coal research, which Paul dismissed as a feeble attempt that would do nothing to combat Obama’s energy policies.
But aside from responding to his criticisms, Paul has mostly ignored Gray, choosing instead to focus on his official duties as a senator. His appearance with Fiorina on Friday marks one of the few purely political events he has had since the Republican primary in May.
“Having her here shows such great unity,” Bailey said.
Neither Paul nor Fiorina mentioned Trump, whom they sharply criticized during their respective presidential campaigns. But Paul came close earlier in the day, responding to a reporter’s question about Trump questioning the ability of a federal judge to treat him fairly given the judge’s Mexican heritage. Paul has said the Republican party needs to be more diverse.
“I think it’s important that we not vilify people based on their ethnicity,” he said, while stopping short of criticizing Trump directly.
Friday night, Fiorina amplified Paul’s brand of liberty politics by telling the crowd that “power concentrated is power abused, always.” She used the vote by Great Britain to leave the European Union as an example.
“Why did the UK vote to exit the EU today?” she said
“Freedom,” a man in the crowd answered
“That’s exactly right,” Fiorina said. “Because a bunch of people in the UK said you know what, who are these bureaucrats in Brussels? Who are they? They are not accountable to us, they are not elected by us, they just keep doing stuff to us.”
Paul said earlier in the day he has “mixed feelings” about Great Britain leaving the European Union, saying he is for free trade but “at the same time I think each country should be allowed to decide their own immigration policy.”
Paul’s speech included attacks of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on Friday, but also a broad critique of both parties for allowing the national debt to approach $20 trillion.
“We’re ruining the country,” he said.