The 2016 election has been a rollercoaster ride for the GOP. Beginning with seventeen potential candidates, anything was possible for the conservative, presidential hopefuls. We saw governors, senators, surgeons, and CEOs of various genders and backgrounds throw their hat into the ring.  There were Republicans ranging from moderate to ultra-conservative that were carving out their platforms and visions for the future of our nation. After eight years under President Obama, the Republican party was ready to take over the White House. Several strong candidates stepped up to run. Many came from different backgrounds, but one candidate particularly inspired me: Carly Fiorina.

To be clear, Carly Fiorina was not my candidate. She was not the person that I supported throughout the primaries.  She was a candidate that I admired. I admired Carly’s drive, her poise, her courage, and her grace. It was a cutthroat competition, but Carly was a rock throughout her time in the presidential race. Even though Carly was the only woman running in her party, she did not use her gender as a reason to vote for her. Carly articulated her positions clearly.  She was level-headed after other candidates insulted her. Carly embodies a woman that I strive to be.

Carly has had her failures. They have been brutally analyzed by the public, yet she has graciously accepted and learned from them. She even wrote a book about her shortcomings including when she was forced to resign from Hewlett-Packard and ran for Senate. After losing that election, she decided to run for President in 2016. Carly clearly does not take ‘no’ for an answer because her failures have led her to tackle even bigger challenges. She is admirable because she will not let herself be defined by her failures.

In 2016, Carly made headline for her participation in our messy presidential race, but headlines never tell the complete story. She is also very active in philanthropy work for women across the globe, which is often overlooked. She was an ambassador for Opportunity International, an organization that provides education and funding to women who are living in poverty around the globe. Carly was the chair of Good360, a charity that helps companies donate their extra merchandise to other charities. She did resign from some positions with nonprofits when she announced her candidacy for president, but we foresee more charitable endeavors from her in the future.

Although her time as Senator Cruz’s running mate was short, it was meaningful to the GOP. The last time a woman was chosen as a running mate for a GOP candidate, she was eviscerated in the press. Since President Obama was polling well with minorities, Governor Palin seemed to be chosen to make Senator McCain more appealing to female voters. When Senator Cruz announced Carly as his running mate, should his candidacy continue, it did not seem like an attempt to appeal more to women. Choosing Carly as a running mate was a move to reunite GOP voters. Although Senator Cruz suspended his campaign shortly after announcing his running mate, I believe that this shows a significant change in our party. Cruz prematurely announced a running mate but he could have chosen from a number of qualified former candidates. His announcement was a power move to reunite our divided party.  He believed that Carly as the person to do it.

Though her time with Senator Cruz’s campaign was extremely short, Carly has not faded from the national political landscape. After many disparaging remarks towards women, minorities, the disabled, and sexual assault allegations, she released a statement that said “Donald Trump does not represent me or my party.” She called for him to step aside and allow his running mate, Governor Mike Pence, to take his place. Since her time as a presidential candidate, she has continued to endorse true representatives of the GOP.  Carly has campaigned in many states to support other Republicans who are running for election. Recently, there have been rumors that Fiorina is eyeing the upcoming chance to be the next RNC chair.  The domain names and were purchased this summer. She is continuing to pursue her passion for politics and improving that country that we live in.  

Carly Fiorina is the ultimate comeback kid. Her tenacity is inspiring and she has done amazing things for the Republican Party. Throughout her business and political careers she has paved the way for women with big dreams. Her ability to turn her failures into something better and bigger something that everyone can learn from. Carly Fiorina’s political career is far from over. She has made herself a champion of conservative politics.  Carly ran an admirable campaign, and she traveled our country in an effort to unite conservatives. So, here’s to Carly Fiorina; an admirable, tenacious woman who will continue to fight for what she wants and for the good of our country.

Jessica P