Former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson joined the rapidly expanding 2016 Republican presidential class on Monday, casting themselves as political outsiders in underdog campaigns, eager to challenge the elite of both parties.
In announcements separated by both geography and style, the two also highlighted the possibility that they can help the GOP expand its appeal among an increasingly diverse electorate. Fiorina is likely to be the only prominent woman to seek the GOP nomination, with Carson the only African-American.
“I’m probably never going to be politically correct because I’m not a politician,” Carson declared at an announcement speech in his native Detroit, where he was raised by a single mother in what he called dire poverty. To be sure, he’s a politician now. But not, he said, like the others.
“It’s time for people to rise up and take the government back,” said Carson, a favorite of the GOP’s tea party wing. “The political class won’t like me saying things like that. The political class comes from both parties.”
Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., chose social media and a nationally broadcast morning show to launch her campaign. She is already laser-focused on Hillary Rodham Clinton. As the only woman in the GOP field, she sees herself as uniquely positioned to go after the dominant Democrat in the 2016 race.
“I have a lot of admiration for Hillary Clinton, but she clearly is not trustworthy,” Fiorina said.
Fiorina and Carson both begin the race as longshots in a campaign expected to feature several seasoned politicians, among them former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
On Tuesday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is expected to announce an underdog campaign of his own, fueled by support from the GOP’s religious conservative wing. Like Fiorina, Huckabee is expected to be a Clinton scold. He is announcing his candidacy in Hope, Arkansas, his hometown as well as former President Bill Clinton’s.