Carly Fiorina plans to launch her presidential campaign on May 4, in an online announcement that dispenses with the pageantry that has become de rigueur in 2016 White House runs.
Instead, Mrs. Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co., will formally declare her Republican campaign online and hold a conference call for the national press, according to a person with knowledge of the campaign's plans.
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The lack of fanfare stands in contrast to GOP candidates who already have declared. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida held choreographed events to officially launch their 2016 efforts. Mrs. Fiorina won't hold a public event the day she begins her campaign.
It will also put Mrs. Fiorina at odds with two other GOP candidates announcing their 2016 plans that week. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson also plans to declare his candidacy on May 4, but he is planning to do so at an event in Detroit, where he was born. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has an event planned the next day in Hope, Ark., his hometown. Detroit and Hope will be mere stage sets for Messrs. Carson and Huckabee--both men now live in Florida.
And instead of immediately heading to states with early nominating contests, Mrs. Fiorina will be in New York when her campaign formally launches. The former tech CEO is scheduled to speak at Techcrunch's Disrupt NY 2015 conference on May 5. She has a new book due out that day and is expected to sit for cable TV interviews as well.
Of course, the lone declared Democrat in the race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced her candidacy in an email to donors and an online video. But with six years of anticipation for Mrs. Clinton's 2016 campaign, she hardly needed the publicity boost that comes with a bells-and-whistles campaign launch. But Mrs. Clinton did make her first public appearances as a candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Mrs. Fiorina, who was the Republican nominee for Senate from California in 2010, has never held elected office. She faces a long road to contention--a national CNN poll released Monday found just 2% of Republicans named her as their first choice in the presidential election, less than 12 other candidates and likely candidates. A survey for New Hampshire cable network NH1 showed she has 2% of support there.
But Mrs. Fiorina, likely the lone woman in the 2016 Republican field, has a unique ability to attack Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Fiorina has impressed activists at early-state candidate events by making the argument that by nominating a woman--namely her--the party would undercut the historic nature of Mrs. Clinton's campaign.
Mrs. Fiorina's first early-state stop as an official candidate will be May 7, when she is expected to speak in West Des Moines, Iowa, at an event for the Dallas County GOP. She is scheduled to appear at a dinner hosted by the New Hampshire High Tech Summit in Manchester. Mrs. Fiorina is also the commencement speaker at Southern New Hampshire University's undergraduate commencement on May 9 in Manchester.
The school's commencement ceremony is a quadrennial favorite for presidential contenders. Jon Huntsman spoke to graduates in 2011 and Barack Obama did so in 2007.
(By Reid J. Epstein)