Deborah Bowker, chief of staff for the campaign of U.S. Senate Republican nominee Carly Fiorina, issued this statement this morning:
“Carly learned more than a year and a half ago that she, like millions of women, had breast cancer. After successfully battling cancer, she had reconstructive surgery this summer and remains cancer free today. However, this morning Carly came down with an infection associated with the reconstructive surgery and, as a result, she was admitted to the hospital to receive antibiotics to treat this infection. 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. Carly is looking forward to getting back to her full campaign schedule and to defeating Barbara Boxer on November 2.”
Sidelined a week before Election Day, while still down in the latest polls – not good for Fiorina.
UPDATE @ 11:03 A.M.: “We wish Carly Fiorina a speedy recovery and hope she is able to return to her normal schedule soon,” Rose Kapolczynski, campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in an e-mailed statement.
“After learning that Carly was admitted to the hospital to treat an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery this summer, I reached out to her to wish her a full and speedy recovery.
“It was apparent during her triumphant battle against breast cancer that Carly is a fighter, and I have no doubt that she will be back on the campaign trail very soon; in the interim I hope Californians will join me and Sandy in keeping Carly in our thoughts and prayers.”
UPDATE @ 2:28 P.M.: Carole Uhlaner, a voter-behavior expert and associate professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, said there’s not a lot of hard data on how voters react to a sick candidate, “but I think the answer is that it’s varied.”
Voters can begin to worry whether the candidate is well enough to serve a full term in the office he or she is seeking, she said; there’s anecdotal evidence of this throughout American history, notably in the lengths to which candidate President John F. Kennedy went to keep his Addison’s disease out of the public eye.
On the other hand, if the illness isn’t so serious, it can humanize the candidate and create sympathy among the electorate, Uhlaner said.
University of California, Berkeley Political Science Professor Jack Citrin agreed.
“I think what happens if a candidate’s health becomes an issue in the sense that it makes voters doubt they’ll be able to serve in office, then it will hurt them,” he said. “If it’s some kind of a minor ailment … I don’t think it has any effect one way or another.”