Just like that, Carly Fiorina is back. The former HP executive dropped out of the presidential race months ago after a poor showing in New Hampshire. But now that Ted Cruz has tapped her as his running mate, Fiorina can exert influence over the race once again, and potentially try to make up for qualities Cruz lacks. “We must unite,” the Texas senator said, referring to the Republican Party, “and Carly is a vice-presidential nominee who I believe is supremely skilled, supremely gifted at helping unite this party.”
Cruz’s announcement was well timed in terms of attracting attention to his campaign. It came one day after Trump swept the Northeast and hours after Cruz’s chief rival made his first (poorly reviewed) policy speech. It also comes days before the primary in Indiana, where Cruz hopes to slow Trump’s accumulation of delegates, now with Fiorina by his side.
Throughout her presidential candidacy, Fiorina found it difficult to attract eyeballs in a sprawling field. But when she did, she made a splash: She was the only candidate to “break through” to a main-stage debate after a television network relegated her to the poorly watched “happy hour” debate among the less popular Republican candidates. Her performance directly, albeit briefly, translated to support in the polls. In a way, her mostly under-the-radar candidacy could be a boon to the Cruz campaign: It offers the opportunity to reintroduce her to the American people. At a contested convention, Fiorina’s presence on the ticket could potentially sway delegates. On Wednesday, Cruz explained why he decided to announce his choice of a running mate now—after all, he hasn’t won the nomination, candidates don’t technically pick their vice presidents, and even when they tap someone, their choices are typically revealed during a party’s convention. He said he wants voters in upcoming primary states, including Indiana and Fiorina’s native California, to “know what you will get.”