By John Celock
The only woman currently chairing a congressional committee has become the second member of Congress to endorse Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign.
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) announced Wednesday that she was backing the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, who has been rising in the polls since last week’s debate. Miller follows U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) in backing Fiorina. Miller said that Fiorina’s gender was not the reason behind her endorsement.
“I hear a lot of people say that maybe it is time for America to have its first woman president. While that would be historic I believe it is our responsibility to pick the best prepared candidate to carry our party’s banner,” Miller said in a video. “We need a president who has the experience, strength and qualifications to lead our nation on day one. Someone who the American people can actually believe and trust. The person who I believe that criteria happens to be a woman.”
Miller’s endorsement came after she introduced Fiorina at a Michigan Republican conference over the weekend and Fiorina attended a Miller event at the same conference. Miller, the chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, is not seeking reelection to a ninth term in 2016.
While Miller is not seeking another term in Congress, she is considering a 2018 bid to succeed term-limited Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R). Miller carries statewide name recognition from her two terms as Michigan secretary of state before heading to Congress, which could benefit Fiorina in the state’s primary.
Miller focused on Fiorina’s business experience, noting that she showed “bold, decisive leadership” in the business world. Fiorina’s tenure at HP ended in 2005 after her firing by the company’s board of directors following a tumultuous tenure, which included changing the corporate culture, laying off 30,000 employees and merging HP with Compaq.
Miller also praised what she said is Fiorina’s understanding of national security issues.
“Carly is a woman who understands the economic challenges that America faces in today’s global economy,” Miller said.
Miller’s political profile is similar in ways to Jenkins. Both were two-term state constitutional officers, Jenkins was Kansas’ state treasurer, before heading to Congress and both have risen in the ranks of the House GOP leadership. Jenkins serves as the GOP conference vice chairwoman. Like Miller, Jenkins is mentioned as a potential contender to return to statewide politics, with her name being mentioned for governor in 2018 or U.S. Senate in 2020.