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Adviser: Carly Fiorina ‘strongly considering’ Virginia Senate run

Carly Fiorina speaks with Van Jones at CNN's town hall "The Messy Truth With Van Jones" on January 11, 2017.

WASHINGTON — Former Presidential Republican candidate Carly Fiorina is “strongly considering” a run to unseat Hillary Clinton’s former running mate Tim Kaine for Virginia senator in 2018, an adviser to the former Hewlett-Packard CEO told CNN.

Fiorina, who bowed out of the presidential race in February 2016 before a short stint as Ted Cruz’s running mate, has been considering a run against Kaine in Virginia since November, said Frank Sadler, former campaign manager for her presidential run and the former executive director to her PAC.

Sadler said that Fiorina will likely make a formal decision about running for Senate in the fall, a timeline the former presidential candidate essentially confirmed to SiriusXM’s Julie Mason earlier Tuesday.

“My decision will come, I suspect, after those elections are over but it’s certainly a consideration,” Fiorina said referencing Virginia’s gubernatorial election this fall.

Fiorina left the door open to running for the position when she was asked about it earlier this year on the “The John Fredericks Show.”

“Look, I’m certainly looking at that opportunity,” she said in February. “It’s a little early to be making that decision, we’re two weeks into a new administration.”

Sadler said Fiorina will nevertheless stay busy this spring and summer, as she plans to be heavily involved in Republican Ed Gillespie’s Virginia governor’s race.

“Something most people don’t know is she hired Quinn & Gillespie when she was at Hewlett Packard to work on the Compaq merger,” Sadler said. “They’ve been friends for 15 years. She’s very, very committed to him — that’s where all of her focus is.”

As former CEO at HP, Fiorina hired Washington-based law firm Quinn & Gillespie to advise her company in the Compaq proxy fight. Both Gillespie and his partner Jack Quinn have since been considered some of Fiorina’s closest advisers. Quinn was Al Gore’s former chief of staff and Gillespie was head of the Republican National Committee from 2003 to 2005.

Fiorina so far has not taken on an official title for Gillespie’s campaign. Currently Fiorina plans to throw her might behind campaigning with Gillespie on the trail, doing videos for him and offering anything else “she can be helpful with.” Sadler said Fiorina would be on the campaign trail even more after August. Fiorina’s PAC has donated $5,000 to Gillespie’s PAC in the past.

Additionally, she is actively helping raise money for GOP county committees across Virginia. She’ll be headlining the Hanover Republican Committee’s Reagan Day Dinner on May 5.

Fiorina does plan to make up her mind as to whether she will pursue a senatorial run before Gillespie’s race is decided November 7.

“I don’t think it’s a function of the outcome for the governors race. Personally and politically she hopes Ed wins, she thinks it’s good for the Commonwealth,” Sadler said. “But in terms of making the decision, it’s a function of her family … she doesn’t want to get ahead of Ed in any way, shape or form.”