Carly Fiorina jumps in GOP presidential race: Can she win?

As the only woman in the Republican race and a former business leader, Fiorina presents an intriguing alternative to Hillary Clinton as far as some GOP leaders are concerned.

Jim Cole/AP
Carly Fiorina speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, N.H., on April 18.

It’s official: Carly Fiorina is running for president. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO announced her candidacy this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I think I am the best person for the job,” Ms. Fiorina told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

After this positive affirmation she switched into her attack-Hillary mode, which we’ll probably see a lot in coming months. As the only woman in the Republican race and a former business leader as opposed to a career lawyer/first lady/politician Fiorina presents an intriguing alternative to Hillary Clinton, as far as some GOP leaders are concerned. So she may talk more pointedly about Mrs. Clinton’s e-mail server and foreign donation to the Clinton Foundation than any other Republican hopeful in the race.

For instance, the first video that appears on Fiorina’s new begins with her watching Clinton’s own announcement video before clicking it off and turning toward the camera.

“Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class,” Fiorina then says.

As the video shows, Fiorina is well-spoken. She’s got a compelling story, as she rose from an administrative assistant position to chief of one of the nation’s top technology firms. (Before she got fired.)

So she has a shot at winning the Republican presidential nomination, right?

Almost certainly not.

Maybe there’s a million-to-one double flip bank shot scenario for a Fiorina victory, in which Jeb Bush implodes while Marco Rubio decides he’d rather remain a Florida senator and Scott Walker goes sweater-shopping at Kohl’s and never comes out. But the fact is it’s almost impossible to see a path to victory for somebody who’s currently dead last in the RealClearPolitics rolling average of polls of GOP contenders.

She’s not the establishment candidate. She’s got no political faction of the party behind her, such as the tea party. She’s got no policy proposals that are much different than anyone else’s.

But there’s this: of all the likely GOP also-rans, Fiorina may among the best-positioned to win, in the sense of boosting her profile and political future.

Why? She’s got the money to hang around. She can self-fund an inexpensive ad-and-debate-based campaign deep into primary season. And she’s valuable to the Republican Party as a whole. Her appearance at debates will partially balance the otherwise all-male crowd. She’ll be able to take shots at Clinton that might sound harsh coming from men. She’s a forceful speaker, too.

The bottom line: The GOP won’t be in a hurry to winnow her out of the race. It’s possible she’ll be one of the last hopefuls standing. She has some realistic hope of balancing the ticket as a VP nominee.

But it’s more likely that she’d get a Cabinet post if the Republicans take the White House in 2016. Or she could run again for the Senate from California. She lost in 2010 in a race against Sen. Barbara Boxer, but Senator Boxer has announced her retirement. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California might follow her. Fiorina might be a contender for either of those seats.

All we ask is this: However she fares, Fiorina really needs to resurrect the “demon sheep,” which played a key role in ads she ran in the 2010 Senate primary. Those ads were hilariously bonkers.

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