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Washington — U.S. Rep. Candice Miller on Wednesday became the second member of Congress to endorse former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina for president, four days after hosting the Republican candidate at an influential Michigan GOP conference.

The former California Republican U.S. Senate candidate and computer company chief executive has surged in the polls after two strong debate performances. Fiorina received the most attention at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference this past weekend on Mackinac Island, where Miller introduced her as the first of Saturday night’s two speakers.

Miller, the Harrison Township Republican who chairs the House Administration Committee and is vice chair of the Homeland Security Committee, said earlier this year that she will not seek re-election but is considering a 2018 run for governor. She called Fiorina a “bold and dynamic conservative leader.”

“Carly is a woman who understands the economic challenges America faces in today’s global economy and is ready to put into place policies that will help every American achieve their full potential,” Miller said in a statement.

“Carly is a woman who has a proven record of bold, decisive leadership in the private sector, and also a clear understanding of the national security threats we face in a dangerous world, both at home and abroad.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, earlier this week became the first member of Congress to endorse Fiorina.

Miller said Fiorina was the best qualified candidate. Some critics have questioned Fiorina’s tenure at Hewlett-Packard, including the company’s layoffs of 30,000 workers and performance on Wall Street.

“I hear a lot of people say that maybe it's time for America to have its first woman president, and while that would be historic, I believe it is our responsibility to pick the best prepared candidate to carry our party’s banner,” Miller said.

Fiorina was a hit at the Mackinac forum, where her appearance was credited for a sold-out Saturday dinner where 1,007 diners were seated. Several Michigan Republicans attending the biennial conference said they were impressed by Fiorina’s command of domestic and foreign affairs during last Wednesday’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

“I think we have been managing the decline of this great nation for far too long,” Fiorina said in the Grand Hotel.

Miller told WJR’s Frank Beckmann on Monday that she was clearly impressed with Fiorina but was hesitant to formally endorse her at that time.

DShepardson@detroitnews.com

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