Minnesota Republican group wants Fiorina included in presidential debates

REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Carly Fiorina talking with an attendee at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, earlier this month.

Carly Fiorina may not be moving the needle in national polls on Republican presidential candidates yet. But she’s polling well among some Republican women in Minnesota. 

At recent meeting of the Minnesota Federation of Republican Women, 30 of 32 respondents to in informal poll said they thought Fiorina would be a plus in the field of GOP candidates.

Jane Beihoffer, the national committeewoman for the state Republican Party, took the poll after a teleconference with Fiorina, where she formed a favorable impression of her.

Beihoffer ask the group to give reasons why Fiorina would (or would not) make a viable a candidate. Fiorina’s leadership qualities, her business background, and her ability to challenge Hillary Clinton topped the list of assets.

Her negatives: Fiorina’s failure as a business leader and her lack of political credentials.

Beihoffer, who has no preferred candidate right now, has said that Republican women, as a bloc, do not necessarily vote on gender, but still acknowledges the balance that Fiorina brings to field.  “She can play with the guys,” Biehoffer said after that initial teleconference. 

But it looks like Fiorina won’t be able to debate them. Fox News, which hosts the first televised debate August 6, allows only ten candidates on stage, as does CNN.  The top ten candidates are determined according to the most recent national polls. Based on current polling, Fiorina wouldn’t make the cut.

Although Fiorina has indicated she’s comfortable with the limits of the debate format, that hasn’t stopped The Washington Post, the New Hampshire Union Leader, and Fortune magazine for calling for her inclusion.

Beihoffer agrees with that and then some.  She says she thinks all the announced candidates should be allowed to debate to show the diversity of the Republican lineup, which includes an African-American physician, and two U.S. Senators of Hispanic descent. 

For the moment though, Fiorina’s fledgling grass roots campaign will not change the debates unless it changes her polling numbers.

“That’s really Fox’s call,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Fred Brown of the debate format.  “We advise but ultimately the networks make the decisions.”

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/29/2015 - 02:07 pm.

    “Her negatives”

    She failed as a business leader, and her political credentials consist of a failed run for the Senate, but apart from that, she’s a GREAT candidate.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/29/2015 - 06:03 pm.

    Carly Fiorina is one of those people who think, “I’ve made a…

    …lot of money. Therefore, I must be qualified for high office !!”

    She has ABSOLUTELY NO QUALIFICATIONS WHATEVER for the Presidency – none that are known, anyway. It is actually a bit scary that anyone could think she could hold that office.

    So I say: DEFINITELY INCLUDE HER in the roster of Republican candidates !! If the confusion of Ms. Beihoffer is any indication, Ms. Fiorina will go far in the Republican beauty pageant.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/29/2015 - 10:39 pm.

    She shouldn’t be allowed in the debate

    if she doesn’t make the top 10 in the polls just because she’s a woman. That’s what the democrats do. The republican party is supposed to the party of merit, not artificial quotas.

  4. Submitted by Margaret Houlehan on 05/30/2015 - 09:36 am.


    that is a false equivalency. If you are referring to Hillary Clinton, she was indeed elected to the Senate. Additionally, she has roughly 60-70% of the vote for Democratic nominee. Fiorina lost handily to Barbara Boxer in her only known run for elected office. Much as it pains me to say this, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin both won contests for Congress and governor, respectively. That Fiorina cannot even match the achievements of those two only further underlines how much of a joke she is.

    A review of most Republican women in Congress, state, and even local capacity reveals that they succeed only if they embrace the three Gs: Guns, God and Gays.

    However, we are in agreement that Fiorina should not be on the stage.

  5. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 05/31/2015 - 03:38 pm.

    All in!

    I want ’em ALL in the debate. Love to watch them go to town and picnic on each other. Bring it on! I’ll make the popcorn.

  6. Submitted by Alice Gibson on 06/01/2015 - 10:33 am.

    Of course she should be included

    Fiorina’s term at Hewlett-Packard inflicted damage from which the company has never recovered. But she escaped that management debacle with a $40 million dollar golden parachute. She’s the poster child for Republican feed-the-rich-and-forget-the-rest economics. So why not let her take a whack at running the US economy? She would surely do no worse than the last Republican to hold the office.

  7. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/01/2015 - 08:53 pm.

    Well qualified in that special GOP way….

    Fiorina’s results as HP CEO are every bit as good as Walker’s results as Governor of Wisconsin. Results are meaningless to the GOP: when facts clash with ideology, ideology wins every time.

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