Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina seemed to take pains to avoid the gender issue when the Republican Texas Senator announced Fiorina as running mate for in his bid for president.
But in an election year that has seen GOP frontrunner Donald Trump take delight in disparaging women, including Fiorina, she gives Republicans a chance to improve the anti-woman image that has been on the rise since former Missouri congressman Todd Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape” in 2014.
Jennifer DeJournett, the former Minnesota state director of Carly for America, the SuperPac working to promote Fiorina’s candidacy, called thousands of Republican voters on behalf of the candidate and said she was electrified by their responses.
“Carly got people to believe a woman is competent to be president,” she said. “For women, no matter what political stripe, for some one to put that last smack in the glass ceiling — it’s an amazing thing to watch.”
DeJournett is an authority on conservative women candidates. She founded Voices of Conservative Women, the only group in the country dedicated to electing women solely on fiscal and economic issues. She has qualified views on the contributions of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin to the election of conservative women to national office.
“They [Bachmann and Palin] never crossed the threshold of where people believed a woman was qualified to be president in her own right,” DeJournett said. “Carly Fiorina crossed the threshold and walked ten miles past.”
With critical primaries May 3 in Indiana and June 7 in California, Fiorina is seen as moderately useful in helping Cruz improve his dwindling chances to knock down Trump’s delegate lead in the nomination battle.
She has a poor track record in California politics. Democrat Barbara Boxer beat Fiorina by ten points in the state’s U.S. Senate race in 2010. Fiorina’s controversial tenure as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard became a campaign issue that dogs her today.
But Fiorina won a competitive California Republican primary and may still hold influence with those same voters who go to the polls in June. “Her voice will be amplified in Indiana but the big bucket is going to be California,” DeJournett said.
DeJournett is a Cruz supporter who is running to be a Minnesota delegate supporting either Cruz or Rubio at the national Republican convention. There, she can accomplish one more task to support Fiorina. Because delegates at the Cleveland convention vote separately on a vice-presidential nominee and are not bound to a VP choice, DeJournett can cast her vote to nominate Carly Fiorina for vice president.