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Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard who lost her Senate challenge to Barbara Boxer in 2010, looks like she’s running for president. In a field that is sure to become crowded with GOP senatorial and gubernatorial heavyweights, some are already writing her off as an underdog. Our interest in Fiorina stems from the fact that she’s from California — a state with historical lessons that Republicans should really pay more attention to, ever since Republican Governor Pete Wilson went so hard on anti-immigrant policy there that the electorate seems to have swung away from the GOP permanently. (Read more about that here.)
Republicans on the national level are in deep trouble with Latinos. In her presidential run, Fiorina has the potential to take away from her home state what Republicans have learned from Pete Wilson and the “Prop 187” effect, and run an inclusive campaign that talks about solutions and recognizes the contributions of immigrants. Unfortunately, her past history on immigration suggests she would be more of a Mitt-Romney-lite: cognizant of the fact that she needs to attract Latino voters, but saying all the wrong things anyway.
Here’s what you need to know about Carly Fiorina and immigration:
Unfortunately, that’s it for Fiorina and inclusive rhetoric. The rest of her immigration positions are decidedly more extremist:
In her 2010 race against Boxer, Fiorina actually won fewer Latino voters than Meg Whitman, who famously threw her undocumented nanny under the bus. Fiorina won 29% of the Latino vote while Whitman won 31%. In her presidential run, will Fiorina understand that she needs to stop alienating such a fast-growing demographic of voters? Or will her campaign simply not reflect the lessons she should’ve learned in California?