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SALT LAKE CITY — Seventeen Utah Republicans announced on Thursday their support for presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
Citing the former Hewlett-Packard CEO's experience as a leader and her ability to challenge the status quo, the 17 Republicans form Fiorina's Utah leadership team, which is co-chaired by Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy and Utah State Auditor John Dougall.
"A true citizen leader, when Fiorina sees a problem, she sees an opportunity to find a solution, not a deterrent," Niederhauser said in a prepared statement. "(Fiorina's) track record of results is beyond impressive, in stark contrast to our current administration, which cowers when faced with a challenge."
Fiorina, 61, started out as a secretary in a small real estate firm and eventually became the first woman to head a Fortune 500 company in HP, according to her website. She has served as a policy adviser for the CIA and the Defense Business Board at the Pentagon.
"I am confident (Fiorina's) blueprint to tackle the most serious issues facing our country today is exactly what we need," Niederhauser said. "It's time we elect a conservative outsider who will get our country back on track."
The latest national polls, however, show Fiorina lingers near the bottom of the GOP's large pool of presidential candidates in terms of support. But Adrielle Herring, former vice chairwoman of the Utah County Republican Party and now coordinator of Fiorina's Utah leadership team, said polls at this point aren't predictive.
"Nationally, the momentum is with her. She is releasing leadership teams already all over the place," Herring told KSL Newsradio's "The Doug Wright Show," indicating teams have been formed in Nevada, Georgia and Vermont.
"Going forward, we're going to see some things start to happen," Herring added. "She is running this campaign like a businesswoman. She knows how to get results, and she isn't distracted by polling."
In addition to Niederhauser and Dougall, Fiorina's Utah leadership team includes:
- Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan
- Kirby Glad, former Utah County Republican Party officer
- Mandee Grant, public relations director for GBS Benefits
- Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo
- Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork
- Adrielle Herring, former Utah County Republican Party vice chairwoman
- Leslie Jones, former campaign manager for Congressman Jason Chaffetz
- Woodland Hills Councilwoman-elect Kari Malkovich
- Herriman City Councilwoman-elect Nichole Martin
- Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton
- Michelle Mumford, former Utah Republican Party officer
- Sarah Nitta, small business owner in Highland
- Holly Richardson, former Utah representative
- Rep. Fred Cox, R-West Valley City
- Val Ziegler, former president of the Utah Federation of Republican Women
"(Fiorina) understands how the elite and the politically connected use the professional political class to prey on working Americans," Dougall said in a prepared statement. "The system is rigged. We need a bold leader to take on crony capitalism and stand up for the little guy. That's one reason I support (Fiorina) — she's challenging the status quo and will work to empower Utahns and people across the country."
According to a news release issued by the group Thursday, Fiorina's leadership team will "help build a grass-roots network of support in Utah" to support her pursuit to become president of the United States.