Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina both reached a mutual understanding with the voters of California this week. Out of a job, they're now pondering their next steps. Does either one have a future in politics? Probably not in the short term.
But Fiorina's not going down without at least a little fight. As she delivered her concession speech, she commented, "the fight is not over. The fight is just beginning." Although she won't reveal her future plans, that suggests she's planning on continuing her political work.
Fiorina has plenty of political contacts to fall back on. Prior to her jump into the Senate race, she served on John McCain's presidential campaign and did fundraising for Republicans. After a clumsy defense of Sarah Palin, in which Fiorina said that Palin wasn't qualified to run a company, she was removed for a while from the public eye.
Like Fiorina, Whitman has plenty of contacts. She was a co-chair of McCain's campaign and hired many of his staffers to run her own gubernatorial bid. Will she make use of those connections? Like Fiorina, she's not talking about the future yet.
With the benefit of hindsight, political consultants are now picking apart each candidate's mistake, hoping to offer lessons to future political aspirants. Among the lessons learned: let a little more time pass between your tenure as CEO and your time as candidate. Get some government experience. Avoid corporate ties to public villains like Goldman Sachs.