Ted Cruz’s VP Pick: What’s in It for Carly Fiorina

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina pauses as she signs campaign posters following a rally for Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Indianapolis, April 27, 2016. Cruz chose Fiorina as his running mate.PlayMichael Conroy/AP Photo
WATCH Will Carly Fiorina Help Ted Cruz Stop Donald Trump?

Even though it is mathematically impossible for Sen. Ted Cruz to win the Republican presidential nomination outright, Carly Fiorina agreed to join him on his hypothetical ticket as his vice president.

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As Donald Trump’s chances of becoming the GOP nominee increase with each primary win, the benefits of her joining Cruz's ticket are not as obvious as they would be if he had a clear path to victory.

But it is still a path, senior fellow Philip Wallach of the Brookings Institution argues.

"Fiorina was teetering on the edge of political irrelevancy, and this puts her back in the spotlight, at least for a little while," Wallach told ABC News today.

"There’s also a non-trivial chance it could lead to her being vice president; betting markets still give Cruz an outside chance of getting the Republican nomination, and he and Fiorina would have a chance in the general election."

Aside from the difficult odds, Cruz is not an overwhelmingly popular person within his own party and so widely disliked that many of his congressional colleagues openly criticize him: Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., jokingly threatened to kill himself if Cruz were elected and former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio this week described Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh.”

As for the new Cruz-Fiorina team, the two are similar in some ways, Georgetown University associate professor Hans Noel said.

"Cruz is not popular with the Republican Party in Washington, but he is very popular with activists and may Republicans in the states. And Cruz is one of the party’s best shots at not nominating Trump," Noel told ABC News of the 45-year-old Texas senator.

"Fiorina was often lumped in with [Ben] Carson and Trump as an outsider, but it’s better to say she is part of that more ideological wing of the party in the states. So they are playing similar strategies," he said.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina waves during a rally in Indianapolis, April 27, 2016, after Cruz announced he had tapped Fiorina to serve as his running mate. Michael Conroy/AP Photo
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina waves during a rally in Indianapolis, April 27, 2016, after Cruz announced he had tapped Fiorina to serve as his running mate.

And Cruz’s popularity could change dramatically if the nomination swings his way, Wallach says.

"If Cruz wins the nomination, he becomes one of the party’s most important figures, period," Wallach said. "I don’t imagine all the bad relations between him and party leaders would instantly be healed, but he would definitely have a chance to reinvent himself as a unifying figure."

The Texas-born former Hewlett Packer CEO, 61, ran against Cruz earlier in this campaign before dropping out in February. She took a month out of the spotlight before rejoining the campaign trail by endorsing Cruz on March 9, which helped her re-enter the race full-time.

"I’m not really sure what the downside is for Fiorina," Wallach said. "If this gambit fails, she may be done in Republican politics, but that may well have been true if she did nothing."

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