Ex-tech exec Carly Fiorina enters presidential race

Steve Peoples
Associated Press

Washington — Carly Fiorina jumped into the Republican race for president on Monday, casting herself as a political outsider in an underdog campaign, eager to challenge the elite of both parties.

The former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co. is the only woman in the crowded field of major GOP candidates. She has never held elected office, but she could play a prominent role in the GOP’s push to broaden its appeal with women in 2016. Democrats have won the female vote in every presidential election since 1988.

Fiorina chose social media and a nationally broadcast morning TV network show to launch her campaign. She is already laser-focused on Hillary Rodham Clinton. As the only woman in the GOP field, she sees herself as uniquely positioned to go after the dominant Democrat in the 2016 race.

“She is the personification of the professional political class,” Fiorina said after releasing an announcement video that begins with an image of Clinton. Earlier, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Fiorina lashed out at Clinton for what she called a lack of transparency, including the use of a private email server while Clinton was secretary of state and foreign donations to her family’s charitable foundation.

“I have a lot of admiration for Hillary Clinton, but she clearly is not trustworthy,” Fiorina said.

Fiorina begins the race as a longshot in a campaign expected to feature several seasoned politicians, among them former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

On Tuesday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is expected to announce an underdog campaign of his own, fueled by support from the GOP’s religious conservative wing. Like Fiorina, Huckabee is expected to be a Clinton scold. He is announcing his candidacy in Hope, Arkansas.

In a field that could ultimately feature more than a dozen notable candidates, the Republican contest is considered wide open. It’s also more diverse than it was four years ago. Republicans acknowledge a pressing need to broaden the party’s appeal beyond its traditional base of older, white men.

Fiorina became a prominent figure in Republican politics in 2010, when she ran for a Senate seat in California and lost to incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer by 10 points. She said little on Monday about her background as the head of Hewlett-Packard, a time marked by soaring revenue, a merger with Compaq, sinking stock prices and infighting on the board that resulted in her firing in 2005.