Carly Fiorina could bring strengths to a Republican running mate. (Charlie Neibergall / AP)

Watching the seemingly endless series of Republican debates this election season, one might wonder why so many candidates hung in there well past the point when it was clear they had no real chance of winning.

One might even have had the impression that perhaps becoming the GOP’s presidential nominee wasn’t actually the endgame for some of them. In the case of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the payoff might just have taken the form of another big gig: Ted Cruz, Donald Trump’s biggest rival, has reportedly chosen Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate in the event that he clinches the GOP nomination.

From The Hill’s report:

The Cruz campaign had hinted at a major announcement coming Wednesday afternoon during a campaign rally in Indiana earlier in the day. And it was reported that Fiorina had been spotted in Indianapolis earlier in the day.

Fiorina voiced her support of Cruz shortly after she bowed out of the presidential contest in February, as Time noted Wednesday. The news magazine also pointed out that Cruz’s move was reminiscent of a pre-emptive strike that took place four decades ago—and didn’t exactly go off without a hitch:

The announcement marks the first time since 1976—the most recent contested GOP convention—that a candidate has indicated their vice presidential pick before securing the nomination. That move, by Ronald Reagan, backfired when his selection of Sen. Richard Schweiker, a moderate, sparked a revolt within his conservative base.

While the timing is unusual, the selection was not a shock. Fiorina, who suspended her own campaign for the Republican nomination in February, endorsed Cruz last month and has emerged as a dogged and effective surrogate. Cruz aides did not dispute a recent report that Fiorina, who has forged an evident bond with the Texas senator, was being vetted for the role.

Fiorina brings several strengths to a Republican prospective ticket. A forceful and disciplined campaigner, the former businesswoman distinguished herself with her withering criticism of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Tapping a woman to lead the attacks on Clinton is a way for Cruz to avoid exacerbating his own weak standing with women.

Cruz is expected to announce his decision at 4 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. No doubt New Jersey-governor-turned-Donald-Trump-shadow Chris Christie is paying close attention.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

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