Carly's Husband Retired Early To Support Her

by Melissah Yang

To run for the Oval Office not only requires a lot of personal stamina; you'll need a supportive family who's willing to stick it out in the trenches of what's sure to be a draining campaign. That's something that Republican breakout star Carly Fiorina doesn't have to worry about, since she has one big cheerleader in her corner — her husband Frank. But to really understand who Frank Fiorina is, you'll need to look at the two of them together. The pair have been married for more than 30 years, and during that time, Frank has become Carly's No. 1 fan, even going so far as to retire early to support her burgeoning career.

Frank grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and worked for his father's auto body shop, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper also reported he was part of a rock band called the Aristocrats as well as lost his hearing in his left ear. He eventually got a job as an AT&T technician making $99 a week before working his way up to a senior level. It's the type of American Dream story that does well during the election season, and Carly has often used her husband's blue-collar narrative on the campaign trail.

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It was at AT&T where he and Carly met (she was previously married and divorced). On their third date, Frank told her she would one day run the company. "It was a good line; she loved it," he told Bloomberg Politics. That kind of talk set up the rest of their relationship, and they were married in 1985. Carly became stepmother to Frank's two daughters, Traci and Lori Ann, who were 10 and 14 at the time. (Lori Ann died in 2009 at age 34 after battling alcoholism and drug abuse.)

At age 48, Frank decided to retire to (gasp!) to support his wife's career as well as take care of his two daughters, something that even her own father didn't quite understand at first. "As he got older and realized how important a role Frank played in my success — and my happiness, beyond that — he came to really appreciate him," she said.

Frank has donned several different hats while running his wife's team. While she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard and later when she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Frank would sometimes serve as her personal bodyguard. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Frank received a permit to carry a concealed weapon in 2000.

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Frank has even thought about what it'd be like to be First Gentleman but didn't spare specifics, telling Bloomberg, "Like Carly, if I’m going to do something, I want to add value." And Carly doesn't like it when people call Frank a "stay-at-home spouse." In her 2006 memoir Tough Choices, Fiorina wrote that the term "dismissed Frank's own career and contributions to our family and the community."

Frank's undying support of his wife and her aspirations isn't something you'll come across often in political circles. And as Carly graduates to join the primetime GOP debate Wednesday, you can be sure Frank will be in the sidelines cheering her on.