By Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 02/20/15, 8:38 PM PST | Updated: 1 min ago

Three nationally known Republicans will descend on Riverside Saturday, speaking to the conservative faithful and padding their campaign war chests in advance of a 2016 presidential run.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Senate candidate Carly Fiorina are all scheduled to speak at the second annual Unite IE Conservative Conference.

“I can’t get over the fact that top-tier conservatives are campaigning in California, instead of just treating us like an ATM,” said John Berry, a cabinet member for the Redlands Tea Party Patriots, one of the organizers of the conference. (Unite Inland Empire is a coalition of local conservative groups.)

All three are certainly in the Inland Empire looking for campaign funds, according to Jack Pitney, professor of American History at Claremont McKenna College.

“There’s more Republican money inland than people might think. There’s a number of affluent Republicans who live far away from the oceans,” Pitney said. “If you can smell saltwater, you’re probably in a Democratic neighborhood.”

Berry is excited about getting three prominent Republicans at the conference, which will be held at Riverside’s Fox Performing Arts Center.

“These are top-tier conservatives. All three of these people stand a very good chance of being the (presidential) candidate,” Berry said.

There are already plenty of Republican officials interested in making a run for the White House in 2016, making it hard this far out to handicap who will eventually break out of the pack — and pick up the campaign funds needed to wage a successful campaign.

“It’s hard to tell this far in advance who’s going to be a contender,” Pitney said. “If you’re not a top-tier candidate, you’re going to work a lot harder to put together your campaign war chest.”

Former Florida Gov. and presumed GOP frontrunner Jeb Bush will not be at Saturday’s event, Pitney noted.

The three Republicans coming to speak in Riverside have something to prove, according to Pitney.

Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company, has been an outspoken opponent of protectionism, telling members of Congress “there is no job that is America’s God-given right any more.”

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