Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Carly Fiorina has officially made it onto the short list of candidates being considered by the Koch Brothers’ network of donors — potentially opening the door to a deep pool of money.
Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the Koch brothers’ umbrella group, which includes a sprawling network of conservative donors, confirmed to ABC News that Fiorina is one of the five candidates on the donor network’s watch list.
“Governor Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are leading a thoughtful and substantive discussion on the issues and we look forward to hearing more about their vision for the country,” Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis told ABC News.
Fiorina’s addition to list serves as a signal that her newly attained top-tier status is being taken seriously by conservative donors and will likely mean increased access for Fiorina to Freedom Partners’ deep-pocketed donors.
The Koch brothers first revealed a list of five candidates whom they were considering helping financially back in April, and it has remained unchanged until now. In April, the list included Bush, Cruz, Paul, Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who effectively removed himself from the list when he dropped out of the race last month.
While Fiorina has now attained a new stature within the Koch brothers’ network, this is not her first foray into their world. The Kochs donated to Fiorina’s unsuccessful senate bid against California Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010.
And in August, Fiorina was invited to address a Freedom Partners gathering. Bush, Walker, Rubio, and Cruz also addressed the gathering. But there were some notable absences. Paul, who was invited to address the gathering, did not attend. And the party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, did not receive an invitation. Another surging candidate in the race who has yet to receive a nod from the Koch brothers is retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
The Kochs and their network aren’t the only big name, wealthy donors considering opening their pocketbooks for Fiorina.
Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens reportedly hosted a luncheon for her back in September. And venture capitalist and former fellow HP board member Tom Perkins, who voted to fire Fiorina as HP’s CEO but has since said he regrets the decision and has run a full-page ad in the New York Times to say so, is also said to be planning a California fundraiser for the presidential candidate in the coming weeks.
Fiorina’s fundraising figures from the most recent reporting quarter have yet to be announced by her campaign but Fiorina has said that she is satisfied with her fundraising efforts, which have seen a boost along with her polling numbers in recent months.
Fiorina’s camp did not immediately comment.
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