Carly Fiorina

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the Quad-Cities New Ideas Forum in September at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.


CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucus are all about expectations,  or more importantly, beating expectations.

That makes 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina feel pretty good about where she is 55 days ahead of the Feb. 1 caucuses.

“My trajectory thus far demonstrates — and I’ve had a trajectory unlike any other candidate — is that when people see me and hear me and come to know me, they support me,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO said in Cedar Rapids Monday.

Fiorina joked she entered the race at “17 out of 16” because so few people had heard of her. But Fiorina, who is averaging 3 percent in national polls, vowed she’s in for the long haul.

“The truth is we’ve barely started the process of elimination,” she said. “Only three candidates have dropped. So we’ve got to get through this long process of elimination, and finally, we’ll get to a process of selection. That will be four or five people, and I am going to be in that group.”

It wouldn’t be her first time beating the odds, according to Fiorina, who likes to tell audience about her rise from secretary to CEO.

So far in this race, she’s survived in a crowded field of better known, more established candidates with more money and experience. For that, she thanks Iowans because they listened to her rather than the polls and pundits.

“Now I’m tied with people who have spent $50 million on TV, and we haven’t spent any,” Fiorina said, “so I feel very good about where we are and the people of Iowa have helped me get there, and I’m grateful for that.”

Her strategy for the month-and-a-half leading up to the caucuses is to spend more time in Iowa talking about her blueprint for the country and making the case that she’s the “the best candidate to beat Hillary Clinton, but also lead the nation.”

Iowans, she said, reflect the frustration of most Americans, 75 percent of whom think the federal government is corrupt and 80 percent of whom think the nation is run by a “professional political class that cares more about its ambition, its power, its privilege than getting something done.”

“Iowans have been disappointed over and over and over again by politics and politicians who talk a good game but nothing really changes,” Fiorina said.

Her blueprint calls for “cutting government down to size and holding it accountable” starting with a simplified tax code, implementing zero-based budgeting and repealing Obamacare. Fiorina wants to “roll back the abuse of government power that results in crony capitalism,” restore the nation’s character by opposing abortion and defending religious liberty and securing the border and enforcing a “pro-American immigration system.”

Finally, she said, America must lead in the world, “and that begins with defeating ISIS. They are at war with us … so we must be at war with them and defeat them.”