Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Carly Fiorina took questions from a stable of reporters in KPCC's Crawford Family Forum after a debate between her and Democrat Barbara Boxer, Sept. 29, 2010.
SACRAMENTO — With two weeks left to go in a close contest, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Tuesday opened up about her own life struggles in her attempt to reach out to women.
Fiorina stopped at an Italian restaurant in the capital city to address about 50 female supporters, most whom were white and several of whom identified themselves as mothers and small-business owners.
Fiorina is challenging Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has cast Fiorina as a threat to women's rights because of her opposition to abortion.
One woman expressed anxiety about her children's future, prompting Fiorina to say she shared those concerns. In explaining why she is running for office for the first time, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO opened up briefly about her own challenges as a candidate.
"This is not, you know this, this isn't easy to run for office," she said. "We've had a tough couple of years in our family. We lost a daughter. I battled cancer. I lost hair."
Fiorina's 35-year-old stepdaughter, Lori Ann, died about a year ago. The cause of death was not given.
Before that, Fiorina had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her campaign said she has been treated and doctors have given her a clean bill of health.
"If this election is of incredible consequence, we have ... to send new kinds of people to Washington," Fiorina said.
Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said the contrast between the two women remain clear.
"Sen. Boxer is fighting to create jobs," Kapolczynski said in a statement. "Carly Fiorina was personally responsible for laying off 30,000 workers and shipping California jobs overseas-all while collecting $100 million in pay and perks."
Fiorina is polling well among men. But according to the most recent Public Policy Institute of California survey, Boxer has 45 percent support among women, compared to 31 percent for Fiorina.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.