SACRAMENTO (AP) — California GOP Senate challenger Carly Fiorina was sidelined Tuesday from the campaign trail in the final week of a close race to be treated for an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery after breast cancer.

The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital, forcing her to cancel campaign appearances in Riverside and Coachella just as polls suggested she was starting to gain momentum in her race against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. It wasn’t clear how soon she would return to the campaign trail.

According to Deborah Bowker, the campaign’s chief of staff, Fiorina was being treated with antibiotics.

“While this will impact her campaign schedule today, Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon,” Bowker said in the statement.

Boxer’s campaign sent its well wishes.

“We wish Carly Fiorina a speedy recovery and hope she is able to return to her normal schedule soon,” Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said in a statement.

Fiorina, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009 before she formally announced her run for Boxer’s seat. She completed chemotherapy and radiation treatments a year ago and had reconstructive surgery in July after having a double mastectomy.

Her campaign issued a statement late Tuesday saying doctors would observe her overnight and “are taking every precaution to ensure that she can return to her busy campaign schedule.”

The statement acknowledged the encouragement Fiorina had received from friends and supporters.

“She is anxious to get back on the campaign trail later this week and is very much looking forward to a victory on November 2,” the campaign said.

It’s hard to know why Fiorina would suffer an infection now without knowing how her reconstruction was done, said Dr. Neal Topham, a plastic surgeon at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

One common method involves several steps, using tissue expanders to stretch skin for several months while chemotherapy and radiation are given. Once those treatments end, permanent implants can be placed.

“Radiation is the culprit here,” because it often damages tissue and impairs healing, and 7 percent to 20 percent of patients suffer an infection, Topham said.

It’s also common to have more minor, follow-up cosmetic procedures after implants heal, and those can lead to infection.

The first-time candidate has maintained a busy campaign schedule in the final weeks of the race, traveling throughout a state that is big enough to stretch from Maine to North Carolina. On Tuesday, she was scheduled to meet with small business owners in the two Riverside County cities to discuss jobs and the economy.

Boxer appeared Tuesday evening with first lady Michelle Obama in Los Angeles. President Barack Obama campaigned for the senator at a rally at the University of Southern California on Friday.

Recent polls show the race between the two women tightening.

A University of Southern California-Los Angeles Times poll released Sunday showed Boxer maintaining a narrow advantage, 47 percent to 41 percent, against Fiorina. The gap was smaller than the same poll showed a month ago.

Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University, said there’s never a good time for a candidate to be off the campaign trail in a close race. “She has to be awfully uncomfortable to pull herself into the hospital,” he said.

The longer Fiorina stays hospitalized, the more uncertainty it creates. It could become an unexpected factor among undecided voters, who are expected to decide the race.

“A lot of voters are taking their time, asking, ‘Do I stay with someone because of seniority and this will continue to benefit the state, or do I go with someone whose values are more out of line because we need a change?”‘ Gerston said. “It’s a tough choice for a lot of voters.”

Although Boxer has outraised her, Fiorina last week pumped another $1 million from her personal fortune into her campaign for the final stretch.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (24)
  1. s says:

    Prayers are with you. Get well and slow down!

  2. McD56 says:

    Prayers go out to you Carly…Get well SOON…..take care

  3. Kay says:

    This is her karma! Can’t she figure it out already!!

    1. td says:

      You sick person, remember what pay back is..

  4. Danny Detroit says:

    I wish her a speedy recovery but question her ability to tackle the strain of the position.

  5. John Galt says:

    Sympathy Vote
    trying to gaining support by appealing to people’s love of a sob story. This could include running for public office after a recent personal or family tragedy, or turning up to an X-Factor audition in a wheelchair, hoping that doing so will gloss over any discernible lack of talent.

    Wonder why she doesn’t got to China or India for treatment, lot cheaper there.

  6. Ravindra says:

    get well soon. good luck

  7. Squirrel Master says:

    Way to win some pity votes.

  8. McD56 says:

    Back off people….just be glad it isn’t you….so much HATE in this state

  9. Kathi says:

    If there is so much HATE in this state, maybe because of all the outsourcing…I agree, much cheaper treatment in maybe India, no??
    Wish her a good recovery just the same, she is human. But she did help some people lose jobs over here, just sayin

    1. McD56 says:

      Excuse me for caring about a human being…..guess that makes me a bad person… sorry I bothered you, kathi..dang

    2. td says:

      You are a looser with tremendous hate in your heart..
      You need counseling..

  10. Fiefnar says:

    Finally, God is punishing her for her sins on destroying families when she laid off so many people for profit.

  11. Hellmouth says:

    Her cancer will come back, she will be dead by next year so don’t vote for her.

    1. td says:

      Nice person… Pay back is always painful YOU should be ashamed of yourself.

  12. lou says:

    not much sympathy for Carly here…maybe if she were a more sympathetic person. with all her attacks on Obama’s health care reform and employee unions and nurses….I’d say sometimes God lets his ironic humor show.

  13. maude says:

    This has nothing to do with God. Anyone familiar with cancer knows that the way people deal with it mentally is personal. It makes sense that someone with Carlys drive would want to challenge themselves after their diagnoses. Not my idea of why someone should be running for office in this state or anywhere, but obviously her choice.

  14. JumpinJackFlash says:

    Get Well Fast Get Back In To The Ring And Knock Barbara Boxer Out.

  15. td says:

    May Carlly get well soon, may the LORD bless her with a victory over the little ‘B’ that needs to go home and take care of her family and leave the real hard work of getting our country back together to someone that knows how to get things done instead of promise and lie..

  16. pamela says:

    get well soon, I hope you kick some boxer b**t! You are strong enough to beat cancer Boxer is nothing compared to that!

  17. ME says:


  18. Brazilian says:

    Please people stop been mean you never know tomorrow….
    I wish she gets better soon!

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