Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina fields questions from the press following the “happy hour” debate hosted by Fox News at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, OH.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty

Carly Fiorina exits stage right

Last night, following another failed primary race, Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina told supporters, “We are going to keep going.” Evidently, that wasn’t quite true.
Carly Fiorina dropped out of the presidential contest on Wednesday, after scoring just 4 percent of votes in New Hampshire’s Republican primary.
 
“While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them,” the former Hewlett-Packard executive said in a statement.
Fiorina’s full statement is available on her Facebook page. The California Republican ended her candidacy after finishing in seventh place in New Hampshire, picking up about 4% of the vote, which followed a seventh-place finish in Iowa, where she received less than 2% of the vote.
 
For Fiorina, who was seeking the presidency despite never having served in elected office, this was her second attempt in politics, following a failed U.S. Senate campaign in 2010, when she lost by double digits to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
 
The former tech executive’s departure from the race is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall trajectory of the nominating fight, but let’s not forget there was a point not too long ago in which Fiorina looked like she’d be a real contender.
 
In late September and early October, Fiorina was actually doing quite well. She performed well in one of the debates; she picked up three congressional endorsements over the course of about two weeks; she was a top-five candidate in national polling; and there was some evidence at the time that Fiorina reached as high as second place in New Hampshire polling.
 
The progress was short-lived. Fiorina got caught brazenly lying about a controversial issue, a misstep made worse when she bizarrely insisted that fiction is fact, over and over again. I’d argue it was this controversy, and her poor handling of the self-inflicted damage, that put her candidacy on a trajectory towards failure.
 
But even if we put that incident aside, the GOP candidate struggled to capitalize on the attention she received when things were going well, reinforcing the impression that Fiorina just didn’t have much to offer as a national candidate.
 
As for the bigger picture, the original field of Republican presidential candidates, before anyone had dropped out, reached 17 people. With Fiorina out, that field now stands at eight: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, and Jim Gilmore. Rumor has it Christie’s departure is near, which would shrink that group to seven.
 
 

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina exits stage right