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.”