Carly Fiorina For President?

Carly Fiorina

For some reason, Carly Fiorina claims to see an opening for her to run for President:

On a Republican presidential debate stage expected to be filled with more than a dozen current and former politicians, Carly Fiorina envisions herself standing out — as the only woman and the only CEO.

Sensing an opportunity in a crowded field that lacks a front-runner, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive is actively exploring a 2016 presidential run. Fiorina has been talking privately with potential donors, recruiting campaign staffers, courting grass-roots activists in early caucus and primary states and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire starting next week.

Fiorina, whose rise from secretary to Silicon Valley corporate chief during the dot-com boom brought her national attention, has refashioned herself as a hard-charging partisan hoping to strike a sharp contrast with the sea of suited men seeking the GOP nomination.

But Fiorina, 60, has considerable challenges, chiefly that she has sought but never held public office. Lingering disarray from her last campaign could also haunt her next one, undercutting her image as an effective manager. Fiorina still owes nearly $500,000 to consultants and staffers from her failed 2010 Senate bid in California — debts that have left some former associates bitter.

Privately, several prominent Republicans spoke about Fiorina with disdain, saying she has an elevated assessment of her political talents and questioning her qualifications to be commander in chief.

But allies defended Fiorina’s credentials, saying she would make a strong contender.

“She’s very articulate, she’s very thoughtful and has a very positive message,” said David Carney, who has been a top strategist for past GOP presidential candidates and whose wife worked with Fiorina this year in New Hampshire. “She’s got just as much of a record of accomplishment and a story and ideas as anybody else who’s running.”

Carney drew a comparison between Fiorina, a free-market advocate, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a populist firebrand: “She’s sort of the antidote to the Elizabeth Warren arguments from the left.”

In June, Fiorina started the Unlocking Potential PAC with a mission of galvanizing female voters and beefing up the GOP’s ground game. The super PAC made modest investments in four Senate races while funding Fiorina’s travel to presidential battlegrounds such as Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire. “She left people wanting more,” said Angie Hughes, the group’s Iowa director. “We did a lot of things that would be helpful to anyone wanting to run for president.”

This month, Fiorina sent handwritten notes to some Iowa activists thanking them for their help with her super PAC and looking forward to “the next phase.”

Fiorina’s one venture into electoral politics occurred, of course, in 2010 when she ran for Senate against California Senator Barbara Boxer. Despite pumping a great deal of her personal fortune into the race, Fiorina ended up losing that race by ten points in a year when Republicans nationwide did very well indeed. Given that, it’s hard to see what would recommend her to a nationwide run for office. That being said, she would potentially be the first serious female Republican candidate in a Presidential field since Elizabeth Dole’s brief run in 2000 (no, Michele Bachmann was not a serious candidate for President) and that, combined with her business experience, would likely be enough to get her media attention in a crowded field. In some sense, Republicans might welcome that if only to push back on the whole “war on women” meme. Given her views, though, I doubt Fiorina would get very far among the party base.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    “undercutting her image as an effective manager.”

    What image is that? The one where she was fired from HP because she made questionable mergers and the company’s stock lagged the market? The one where she has not had a job in the industry in the nearly a decade since then?

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Fiorina’s one venture into electoral politics occurred, of course, in 2010 when she ran for Senate against California Senator Barbara Boxer. Despite pumping a great deal of her personal fortune into the race, Fiorina ended up losing that race by ten points in a year when Republicans nationwide did very well indeed

    Conservatives, both nationwide and in California, have always seen Barbara Boxer as ultra-liberal, as someone that they have always believed can easily be beaten if only they can get the word out that Boxer is a socialist.

    The last time they figured that a woman like Carly Fiorina, with strong business credentials, would cause many female Democratic voters to vote Republican. On the campaign trail Fiorina came a cross as cold and corporate (not unlike Mitt Romney), and she holds positions on social issues that are conservative. Boxer won easily.

    Apart from many other concerns about Fiorina it’s not at all clear to me that the business community views Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of HP as a successful one.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Thanks for the laugh.

  4. Mark Ivey says:

    “Fiorina still owes nearly $500,000 to consultants and staffers from her failed 2010 Senate bid in California”

    Ahh, so she want’s to do a Presidential primary grift to cover her old debts, Nevada grifter respect..

  5. Andre Kenji says:

    Her tenure at HP was a disaster, she is a caricature of the horrible CEO.

  6. Kari Q says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Apart from many other concerns about Fiorina it’s not at all clear to me that the business community views Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of HP as a successful one.

    And by this, I assume you mean that Fiorina’s time at HP is looked at as a dismal failure? Because I don’t remember anything positive that happened while she was in charge.

  7. Andrei Vfeked says:

    Nothing will sell the Republican “personal responsibility”-laden social message more effectively than a candidate who cannot pay her own bills.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Run, Carly, run! I can’t wait until we see the demonic sheep ads nationwide!

    Guess she’s gotten bored with running HP into the ground and now is looking for more amusing pastures.

  9. PJ says:

    @Andrei Vfeked:

    Nothing will sell the Republican “personal responsibility”-laden social message more effectively than a candidate who cannot pay her own bills.

    The important people got their money back, like the $1 million loan that Fiorina gave her campaign, that was paid back before the end of the campaign.

  10. wr says:

    @al-Ameda: The Republicans are always sure that deep down Californians hate Boxer as much as they do, and if only we could be shown the error of her ways we would all abandon her in an instant. And for some reason the national political press always goes along with that, breathlessly hyping the next Republican senator from California. And then she cruises to an easy victory.

    The only senatorial questionhere is whether Feinstein’s seat will go to Adam Schiff or Kamala Harris…

  11. wr says:

    @Andre Kenji: “Her tenure at HP was a disaster, she is a caricature of the horrible”

    Ah, but you’re forgetting the second half of the story — her tenure at HP was a disaster… so she walked away with tens of millions of dollars for tanking the company.

    The fact that she refuses to pay the bills from her last campaign merely completes the picture…

  12. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    “She’s very articulate, she’s very thoughtful and has a very positive message,” said David Carney, who has been is seeking a position as a top strategist for past up and coming GOP presidential candidates

    Fixed it.

  13. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Well, there’s always Meg Whitman…

  14. anjin-san says:

    @wr:

    so she walked away with tens of millions of dollars for tanking the company.

    She was also on a lot of magazine covers. I’m sure she regards her tenure as a raging success.

  15. TheColourfield says:

    When is that picture from ? Has she had major plastic surgery or something ? She doesn’t even look the same.

    Not that it would matter but it just looks funy

  16. gVOR08 says:

    Is it properly spelled Clown Car or Klown Kar?

  17. Eric Florack says:

    while I think that she would do a better job than Obama has, that seems to me a rather low bar. We can do better than her.