Kim Reem was surprised earlier this fall when her phone rang and Carly Fiorina was on the line. The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive was set to speak in a Des Moines suburb and she told Reem that she wanted to chat about Iowa, the state that will hold the first presidential nomination balloting in early 2016.
“She didn’t have an agenda and it was very unscripted,” said Reem, the president of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women. “She is definitely trying to build relationships.” Those relationships would be essential if Fiorina, 60, runs for president, something she has said she’s considering.
While it’s commonly assumed Hillary Clinton will indeed make a second White House run, a Fiorina candidacy would give Republicans their own woman candidate, potentially helping the party boost its brand by looking more inclusive and also alter the still-forming, all-male Republican field. The Republican Party has worked harder to recruit female candidates and showcase women ever since the beating it took in the 2012 presidential election. In that campaign, President Barack Obama took 55 percent of the female vote compared with 44 percent for Republican Mitt Romney.