As Republicans court female voters in New Hampshire, a state where women generally vote over 10 percentage points more than male voters, Carly Fiorina, in need of a surge, is struggling. Fiorina is polling less than five percent in the state, and appeals from Mitt Romney and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, whose support is hotly sought by GOP candidates, failed to secure her inclusion in the debate this Saturday. In fact, Romney’s recent argument for Fiorina’s inclusion in the debate, that she’s a woman, represented a reversal of ground for a candidate who once refused to make the case her candidacy was any different than a man’s.
Whether defending her looks to Donald Trump, or relentlessly accusing Planned Parenthood of “butchering babies,” Fiorina has seen her identity as a woman take over her campaign. Fiorina saw success in early debates discussing foreign policy and the economy, but her last debate saw Fiorina telling female voters that she would best represent them because she’s a woman. A crass Ted Cruz-supporting radio DJ in Iowa responded to the flip-flop by saying Fiorina went “full vagina,” and she drew less than 2 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. Fiorina needs a breakthrough in New Hampshire, but thus far embracing her gender has only backfired.
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