Former HP CEO and California Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina suspended her presidential campaign today. The only woman in the race, Fiorina gained early notoriety for her no-nonsense debate performances.
After being denied the “main stage” in the first GOP debate, Fiorina won at the Happy hour debate and catapulted herself into prime time for the next debate. This performance also corresponded with a double-digit increase in Ms. Fiorina’s poll numbers.
Alas for Fiorina, her campaign quickly began to fade in November and December of 2015 before a disappointing finish in Iowa and an even worse-than-disappointing finish in New Hampshire. Touted as one of the most-prepared executives in America, Fiorina’s support seemed locked in the “educated” portion of the GOP electorate with most of Fiorina’s early poll support coming from people with advanced degrees.
Often seen as a foil to Hillary Clinton’s rise on the shoulders of her husband, Fiorina’s personal story of building herself from a secretary to the most powerful female CEO on the planet was compelling. Unfortunately, her tenure as a CEO was widely panned by business insiders. Much of this was unavoidable because of an economic downturn, but, unfortunately Fiorina was at the helm during mass layoffs.
Fiorina’s policy positions were hard to come by and voters gravitated away from Fiorina to the likes of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. In a year of outsiders, Carly’s campaign failed to ignite voter anger in the visceral manner of her competitors. Notably, her hawkish approach to dealing with Russia was widely condemned as being overly bellicose and needless given the delicate geopolitical climate. In the end, Fiorina’s numbers dropped to a level that did not even permit her to qualify for the final debate in New Hampshire.
In all, Carly brought a different voice to the Republican stage and was a stalwart counterpoint to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.