Businesswoman Carly Fiorina has received her first endorsement from a member of Congress for her campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a top House Republican, announced Sunday she is supporting the former chief executive's White House bid and is serving as her co-chair in the state. Jenkins, a certified public accountant, pointed to Fiorina's business experience in her statement of support that was released to The Topeka Capital-Journal.
Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, bolstered by positive media coverage and a well-received debate performance, is getting a boost in the polls. What many Republican insiders want to know, however, is whether she can capitalize on the buzz and sustain her position as a top-tier contender.
Endorsements like these will help answer the question.
Given Fiorina's record in the private sector, this may not be the best rationale for an endorsement, but the far-right congresswoman made the argument anyway.
To be sure, no one would suggest Jenkins holds so much sway that her support will suddenly change the 2016 race. But endorsements matter -- in recent election cycles, one of the key barometers for identifying the eventual nominee has been establishment endorsements, which have been every bit as important as money and early polling.
With Jenkins' official backing, in other words, comes a degree of credibility. Serious, competitive candidates are supposed to be able earn the support of elected officials in their party. Before yesterday, Fiorina wasn't a member in this club. Now, she is.
The New York Times has a running list of presidential candidates and their endorsements from governors and members of Congress. Among Republicans, there's no dominant figure yet:
1. Jeb Bush: 0 governors, 23 federal lawmakers
2. Rand Paul: 0 governors, 10 federal lawmakers
3. Chris Christie: 2 governors, 6 federal lawmakers
4. Ted Cruz: 0 governors, 7 federal lawmakers
5. John Kasich: 1 governor, 4 federal lawmakers
6. Mike Huckabee: 1 governor, 2 federal lawmakers
Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, and Carly Fiorina are effectively tied for seventh -- each of them has one official backer in Congress.
Among Democrats, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is already dominating the endorsement race, picking up support from seven governors and 141 members of Congress -- nearly 60% of the available endorsements, even while Vice President Biden weighs his options.