Carly Fiorina’s Victory Lap – Politico

2016 Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiorina, former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co., and Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, walk on stage during the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The main debate of the top 11 GOP contenders in the polls follows the "kids' table" debate of candidates who didn't make the cut. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

2016 Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiorina, former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co., and Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, walk on stage during the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015.

Phones were ringing off the hook at the super PAC Thursday and the new speaking invitations were piling up.

Republicans observed Carly Fiorina Day Thursday, celebrating the former Hewlett-Packard CEO’s standout performance at the Reagan Library debate the evening before.

Phones were ringing off the hook at CARLY for America, the super PAC that’s essentially running Fiorina’s ground game. Keith Appell, a senior adviser to the super PAC, said it was too early to know anything certain but all signs pointed to a post-debate surge in fundraising.

In the field, there were similar signs that Fiorina was on the rise. She is already slated for an Iowa swing next week that’s set to include stops in Iowa City, Davenport, and Dubuque, and in the wake of the second debate, the campaign is fielding a slew of additional invitations, including from a college and a county party.

“Here’s what I know,” said Christopher Rants, her Iowa state chairman. “I’m going to need a bigger room. I’m going to need a bigger venue. I had three messages before 7 A.M., ‘Can Carly come here?’ which is great, that’s exactly what we want. We’re just continuing to build the momentum.”

It’s a dramatic shift for a campaign that muddled through a summer of slow fundraising and the indignity of getting bumped to the second-tier debate in August.

“The consensus among us,” said Appell, “is that last night really reset the race.”

Fiorina is suddenly the party’s “it” candidate — and her bare-bones campaign is scrambling to take advantage. The first step was the morning television show circuit Thursday morning, where Fiorina made appearances on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” NBC’s “Today” show, CNN’s “New Day,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “Fox and Friends” and “CBS This Morning.”

“What we saw in the last debate, August 6, where less than 40 percent of the people had heard my name… what we saw was a big bump in fundraising,” she said on “CBS This Morning.” “We saw a bump in the polls, and I suspect and hope that we’ll see the same thing out of this debate.”

If nothing else, Fiorina has firmly established herself as a top-tier candidate after nearly failing to make the primetime stage in the second debate. Her crisp delivery, pitch-perfect handling of Donald Trump and sharp Planned Parenthood critique drew rave reviews from the conservative media and state party leaders across the map.

“Do I anticipate that things will get significantly better? Yeah, I do,” said Appell, addressing the question of fundraising. “They already have. The more she breaks through in these debates, the more that’s going to feed our strategy of going for the long haul. There are a lot of people in this race, nobody wants to get out, we understand that, but we think she was the clear winner last night. The more people see of her, the more she gets support on the ground, in the bank and everywhere else.”

Added Donna Sytek, a former New Hampshire state House speaker who is currently uncommitted but has Fiorina in her top three, “I thought Carly knocked it out of the park, I really did. I was so impressed with her when she did the “happy hour” [Aug. 6] debate, and was glad to see her onstage with the big boys. She absolutely held her own.”

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