Update: Less than four hours after we initially published this story, Carly Fiorina announced that she has suspended her campaign for president.
In a statement posted to Facebook, she went on to say: “I’ve said throughout this campaign that I will not sit down and be quiet. I’m not going to start now. While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them.”
Our original story is below.
The presidential candidacy of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is effectively over. She won’t admit it and will probably delay bowing out of the race until at least after the South Carolina primary 10 days from now, but there is no realistic scenario in which she can secure the nomination.
Let’s start with her performance in Tuesday’s New Hampshire Republican primary. With 94 percent of the votes tallied, Fiorina secured 4.2 percent support, finishing seventh in a field of eight candidates. She bested only Ben Carson and failed to add to the number of delegates pledged to support her at the GOP convention this summer. That number, after the Republican caucuses in Iowa last week, stands at one of a required 1,237.
Fiorina finished one notch below New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is considered the mostly likely to get out of the race first.
The Fiorina campaign was quiet this morning and didn’t reply to an email asking about the possibility of an exit. Politico quoted a campaign aide saying there was no change in plans to move on to the Feb. 20 primary in South Carolina and a Feb. 23 caucus in Nevada.
Eighty delegates are at stake in those two states, but polls in both look weak for Fiorina. RealClearPolitics shows her averaging about 1.7 percent in South Carolina. A Nevada poll taken in December pegged her support at 5 percent.
She’s scraping the bottom of the national polls too. Her standing peaked in September after she proved to be the only candidate able to land an effective punch against Donald Trump in a TV debate. She stood in third place behind Carson and Trump in national polls for a short period but hasn’t sustained that momentum. And with a slot in Saturday’s debate on CBS unlikely, she has little chance to regain it.
So who’s likely to benefit from a Fiorina exit? Florida Sen. Rubio, maybe. Carl Bialik at FiveThirtyEight shared some interesting data from Morning Consult on that subject last night: In a poll of Republican voters asked who they intended to support as their second-choice candidate, 23 percent of Fiorina supporters said they’d go for Rubio, while 14 percent said they would support Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Another 5 percent said they’d back Trump. But the poll was taken before Rubio was on the ropes after a disastrous debate performance last week.
Make no mistake, Fiorina’s campaign and Super PACs likely have the resources to remain in the race for a while yet: As of Dec. 31, her official campaign had $4.5 million in cash on hand while her Super PAC had $4.8 million, according to regulatory filings. But her weak showing in Iowa and New Hampshire isn’t going to convince big donors to write her meaningful checks and the race isn’t going to get any less expensive. The ticking of the clock counting down to Fiorina’s exit speech will only get louder by the day.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.