Even though no Republican has formally announced that he or she will be running for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016, the field is getting awfully crowded. It is assumed that the known names–Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry–will make announcements early next year. But a surprise candidate has now stepped into the spotlight, at least tentatively.
Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and failed 2010 California Senate candidate, appears to be getting very serious about running, going as far as to start interviewing potential campaign staffers. Reports have indicated Fiorina is looking to hire a political and communications director, and that both spots may be offered to women. If this is Fiorina’s attempt to lure women voters, it may take more than a couple of symbolic hires to make the case. In her campaign against incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer, Fiorina said she was opposed to abortion but never fully explained if she thought the procedure should be legal. Fiorina lost that race by ten percentage points.
Another stumbling block for Fiorina may come in the form of a lack of name recognition. To test this, I recently brought up her name at a meeting of my local neighborhood watch and asked 32 people who live in the Atlanta area if they had ever heard of Fiorina. One person raised his hand. And he, I later found out, once worked in the computer industry. Fiorina does not register as even a blip on the screen when polls are taken of likely 2106 Republican voters.
In an effort to burnish her conservative credientials, Fiorina has landed a primetime speaking gig at the 2015 American Conservative Union’s (ACU) Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Fiorina is already chair of the ACU Foundation Board.
Still curious about Fiorina’s chances if she enters the race, I decided to call a friend of mine who works as a political consultant to several Democratic candidates. He is now serving as a high-ranking member of the “Ready for Hillary” camp, and spoke on the condition of anonymity :
“Fiorina has as much of a chance winning the GOP nomination as my pet Labrador retriever does. Don’t get me wrong: I would love to see her as the nominee because that would essentially guarantee the Democrat a 49 or 50-state sweep of the general election. I don’t even see her as a possible candidate for vice president. My guess is she will disappear within the first month of the Republican primaries.”
Fiorina, who is estimated to have a net worth of $80 million, might want to save her money and invest in a nice Internet start-up. The potential reward seems more assured.