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Why Carly Fiorina’s Presidential Campaign Is Good News for Tech

Money Morning Contributor
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The odds that we may get a U.S. president who understands that the road to wealth is paved with high tech have increased significantly over the past few weeks.

Of course, I’m talking about Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. As the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Fiorina hails from Silicon Valley and, therefore, grasps the ever-growing importance of the cloud, Big Data, the Internet of Everything (IoE), and other tech sectors in both our lives and the U.S. economy.

When I first introduced you to Fiorina back in July, I was among the very first investment analysts to suggest this former tech executive should be taken seriously. At the time, she was barely a blip on the national media’s radar screen and was polling in low single digits.

Since then, she’s made a strong name for herself, primarily by shutting down GOP front-runner Donald Trump during a debate that polls show she won.

And now polls show her tied for third place in the Republican presidential horse race.

Today, I want to show you what Fiorina’s rapid rise means for tech investors like you…

Madame President?

Election
Let’s get one thing cleared up right now. I’m not endorsing Fiorina – or any candidate.

My role here at Strategic Tech Investor is to analyze the markets… the news… the major trends – and then show you how to profit.

And I think that Fiorina’s candidacy – as long as she and her message stay in the spotlight – is a big “win” for tech investors and tech’s place in the economy.

After all, technology isn’t just the top-performing sector in the market these days – it’s become a catalyst for what I call the “convergence economy.”

With the emergence of e-commerce, semiconductors, advanced sensors, smartphones, the connected car, and the IoE, tech’s rapid growth is catapulting society further into the Digital Age as these areas continue to overlap with one another.

And there is no turning back…

That’s why it’s critical that those running for the White House understand the fundamental role technology plays in our lives.

Now, a Fiorina presidency remains a very long shot.

Outsiders without big backing from Wall Street and other major funders pretty much never win the Oval Office.

However, let me put on my prognosticator’s cap and predict what a Fiorina win would mean for tech investors like you.

As the former CEO of HP, she knows firsthand the importance of computer networks, information technology, cybersecurity, software, and data mining.

So it’s no surprise that following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell sought Fiorina’s advice while she was still running HP as to how the government could share information between agencies more securely. She’s worked with the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency in a similar capacity.

Therefore, if Fiorina were to become president, I’d look for tech companies, like HP, that facilitate communication to get some very big federal contracts.

As the first chair of the Central Intelligence Agency’s External Advisory Board when it formed in 2007, she also has a strong background in defense. So she’d likely push for the Pentagon and Langley to add even more tech systems.

Defense-tech contractors – and their investors – would be smiling.

Plus, even if she never makes it to Washington, her candidacy will constantly highlight the importance of investing in the nation’s technology infrastructure.

No one on the campaign trail now is a better advocate for that than Fiorina.

How She Got Here

I’m not surprised at how well Fiorina has done since our original chat back in July. After all, grass-roots voters in Iowa and New Hampshire were even then giving her rave reviews for her command of the facts.

Yet, at the time, the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed Fiorina with hardly any support or name recognition. But in an update published this week, the Journal notes that she is coming on strong.

“No candidate in the race has enjoyed a swifter ascent than Mrs. Fiorina, who barely registered in the July survey. She has since taken the spotlight in the GOP race after a strong performance in a televised Sept. 16 candidate debate.”

According to the WSJ/NBC poll, her backing from likely Republican primary voters rose from 2% to 28%.

As the Journal noted, much of that has to do with her strong performance in the most recent Republican debate. With 22.9 million viewers, the show set a record as the most watched program in CNN‘s 35-year history.

During the debate, Fiorina accomplished three main objectives. First, she clearly raised her profile – she’s now tied for third place among GOP hopefuls along with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Second, most polls showed she won the debate. She received top billing the next day in The New York Times and Associated Press as well.

Third, she began to shore up what is surely the biggest weakness of her campaign – her mixed record at HP.

While serving as CEO of the storied Silicon Valley giant, she made two moves that have haunted her on the campaign trail. She had HP buy Compaq Computer in a bid to drive down costs, increase profit margins, and go after more tech contracts at Fortune 500 firms.

She’s also received consistent criticism for laying off some 30,000 workers.

Since the debate, she has gone on the offensive, noting that by the end of her tenure in 2005, HP actually had a net increase of roughly 20,000 jobs.

She also has hammered away at the point that many of the problems HP faced during her tenure stemmed from the aftermath of the “dot-com bust.”

The tide further began to turn in her favor last week during an appearance on the popular FOX News program “The O’Reilly Factor.” Host Bill O’Reilly asked her several tough questions about her HP tenure.

Fiorina was so adroit in turning the questions to her advantage that O’Reilly twice complimented her on the quality of her answers, something the irascible commentator rarely does.

Add it all up, and you see that what many thought was impossible back in July is now becoming a prospect – that we just might get a major party candidate who hails from Silicon Valley.

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