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Poll: Boxer and her hair are in the lead

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is shopping around a new poll that shows incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., leading GOP nominee Carly Fiorina by nine percentage points – and Boxer’s hair leading Fiorina’s by five.

The Public Policy Polling survey found that although voters have mixed opinions about Boxer’s job performance – her disapproval rating outweighs her approval rating, 46 percent to 44 percent – Boxer since last month’s primary has brought shaky Democrats back into the fold while shoring up her position with independents.

Fiorina, meanwhile, since prevailing over Tom Campbell in the somewhat bruising GOP primary has 40 percent disapproval over 28 percent approval with 32 percent yet to form an opinion, the survey found. While both Boxer and Fiorina win 77 percent of voters from each of their own parties, independents now favor Boxer 48 percent to 38 percent.

“Over the past few months Boxer has been successful at reassuring voters that she is an effective advocate for California in the Senate and has steadily increased her lead over Carly Fiorina” said PPP President Dean Debnam, who’s firm surveyed 614 California voters from July 23-25; the poll has a four-percentage-point margin of error.

Does Debnam’s statement sound a bit like an official DSCC line? Perhaps that’s because Public Policy Polling is clearly a Democratic polling outfit. Other recent polls have showed a closer race, and although the Wall Street Journal, and’s Mark Blumenthal have given PPP relatively high marks for accuracy, others have noted the firm’s unswerving Democratic loyalties and sometimes – ahemincendiary questions.

Which brings us to the hair. Inspired, no doubt, by Fiorina’s didn’t-know-the-mike-was-hot gaffe last month, this PPPC poll included a question asking, “Do you have a higher opinion of Barbara Boxer’s hair or Carly Fiorina’s hair?” The results: 19 percent for Boxer, 14 percent for Fiorina and 67 percent not sure.

“Who frackin’ cares?” apparently was not among the options offered.

Posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senate | 5 Comments »

NRSC moves to help shape Fiorina’s message

Brian JonesPolitico reports that Brian Jones, a former Republican National Committee communications director and senior communications advisor to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, has been tapped by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to give former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina a hand in her race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Jones – now a managing director at Mercury Public Affairs in Sacramento – also will be helping Nevada GOP senatorial nominee Sharron Angle in her race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and whichever Republican finishes in Washington’s Aug. 17 blanket primary.

Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports:

Just as Republicans need to win Nevada to have any chance of capturing the 10 seats they need to win back control of the Senate, their path to the majority almost certainly also must goes through California and Washington. The NRSC disclosed Monday that they were reserving $1.75 million worth of TV time in California — a signal that they’re serious about taking on Sen. Barbara Boxer. In Washington, Republicans think Sen. Patty Murray is vulnerable but the party must first settle on a nominee. Dino Rossi, who has twice run unsuccesfully for govenor, is the establishment favorite while former NFL player Clint Didier has some tea party support.

Jones is a seasoned press hand. In the 2008 cycle, he was initially the communications director for John McCain’s presidential campaign, where he worked closely with fellow top aides Terry Nelson and Rob Jesmer – both now top NRSC officials. Jones also worked on President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

Posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

What they’re saying about financial reform

The U.S. Senate today voted 60-39 to approve the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, the Dodd-Frank legislation aimed at reforming financial-sector practices; it now goes to President Barack Obama for him to sign into law.

Three Republicans – Scott Brown, D-Mass.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine – crossed the aisle to vote with most Democrats in supporting the bill, while Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., voted with most Republicans against it.

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“The reckless actions of Wall Street cost us millions of jobs and brought our economy to the brink of collapse. The landmark legislation we approved today will rein in casino-style gambling on Wall Street, create a new watchdog agency to protect consumers and safeguard taxpayers by holding financial firms responsible for their own costly mistakes.”

From U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah:

“This bill is a bad for Utah and our nation. Our financial system needs to be fixed, but this so-called cure will cause more harm than good to our struggling families, businesses, farmers, ranchers and economy. This massive legislation is a job killer – it will hurt Main Street America’s ability to access much-needed credit. It will send American jobs overseas. And it will add layer upon layer of burdensome regulations on to the backs of struggling job creators.

“This tremendous government overreach punishes those who had nothing to do with the financial meltdown and can’t afford an army of lobbyists and attorneys to get around these new regulations. What could be the most offensive part of this bill is what it’s missing: reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored agencies that were largely responsible for the financial meltdown and that taxpayers have been forced to shell out of $200 billion to support. That is outrageous.

“The added burden of regulation and uncertainty brought by this legislation are more examples of why our economy is not producing the number of jobs we need. The Obama Administration and its allies in Congress are doing everything possible to create a business unfriendly climate that is anti job creation and anti growth, and then they wonder where the new jobs are.”

Other perspectives, after the jump…
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Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Under: Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Dianne Feinstein, John Boehner, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Boxer far outraises Fiorina in 2nd Quarter

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., far outpaced her Republican challenger, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, in campaign fundraising during the second quarter of this year, leaving her with 18 12 times as much money in the bank – and it looks as if she’s going to need every penny.

Boxer’s campaign reported receiving $4.6 million in the second quarter – a period that included two fundraising visits from President Barack Obama – leaving her with $11.3 million in the bank as of June 30. Fiorina’s campaign said she raised $1.39 million since May 20 (and she’d reported raising $889,163 from April 1 through May 19) for a total of $2.28 million raised in the second quarter; she reports today having $620,000 $950,000 cash on hand, which is exactly what she reported May 19 too. Fiorina has put $5.5 million of her personal fortune into the race so far, all before the June 8 primary.

“Barbara Boxer is facing a tough campaign against a wealthy opponent who is self-funding her campaign. The response from our supporters has been overwhelming,” Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said. “With this kind of support, we will be able to let millions of voters know about Senator Boxer’s record and her plan to create jobs and turn our economy around.”

“There’s no denying that we’re starting, and will probably continue to be, at a significant cash disadvantage to Boxer: we went through a tough and expensive primary and have only had a few weeks of raising cash for the general while Boxer has been stockpiling funds for 6 years.” Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “That said, we are confident we will have the resources we need to compete and win this race in November.”

Fiorina continues to build on the name recognition she built in the tough primary fight against Tom Campbell, and on the anti-incumbent, populist sentiment that seems to be brewing for November. Boxer marshaled her resources throughout the primary season and only just recently took to the road to get her message out and her visibility up.

Hot on the heels of tough poll numbers for Boxer and a move into the “toss-up” column at Real Clear Politics, the race got moved into the “toss-up” column at the Cook Political Report today as well.

UPDATE @ 3:33 P.M.: Fiorina’s campaign just put out updated/corrected figures for her cash on hand, hence the strikethroughs up top.

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, campaign finance, Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Boxer is taking it on the chin this week

It’s a rocky week for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. – and it’s only Tuesday.

Fiorina 6-17-10 in Sacramento (AP Photo)A CBS 5 KPIX-TV/Survey USA poll released yesterday shows Republican senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina with support from 47 percent of likely voters and Boxer with 45 percent, which is within the poll’s four-percentage-point margin of error. Perhaps more troubling for the incumbent, the poll found twice as many Democrats cross-over to vote Republican as Republicans who cross-over to vote Democrat in the senate race.

This is the first poll to show Fiorina edging ahead; other recent ones have shown Boxer holding a narrow lead. But as the Field Poll put it two weeks ago, “Boxer’s once sizeable thirty-point advantage over Fiorina in March of last year has narrowed considerably in recent months.”

Today, Real Clear Politics moved the Boxer-Fiorina race from its “leans Dem” column into its “toss up” column. (The Cook Political Report still has it as “lean D.”) Politico picked up the neck-and-neck narrative today, too.

Keep in mind that Fiorina has been actively stumping for many months now, as she fought to overcome Tom Campbell in June’s GOP primary; her visibility has been high while Boxer largely sat out the primary season, choosing to raise and save her money for what she has acknowledged will be the toughest fight of her electoral career.

Barbara BoxerBoxer has taken to the road in recent weeks trying to illustrate how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus has brought and will continue to bring jobs to California, particularly in the transportation infrastructure construction and clean energy sectors. Fiorina has been pounding a message that these jobs aren’t enough and/or aren’t of the right kind to amount to sustained economic recovery and growth.

Fiorina pressed her momentum yesterday by noting she has accepted all debate invitations she has received: from national outlets such as Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and CNN, as well as from state forums such as KPCC/La Opinion in Los Angeles, KABC/League of Women Voters in Los Angeles, KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles, KTVU/KQED/San Francisco Chronicle in the Bay Area, KCRA in Sacramento, KFSN in Fresno, KMJ in Fresno and The Capitol Hour with Eric Hogue in Sacramento. She accuses Boxer’s campaign of stalling on debate talks. Naturally, nobody expects a dozen debates in this race – two would be nice and three would be a lot, realistically – but Fiorina as the challenger with less name recognition and record has little to lose by pushing Boxer’s buttons on this.

In a year when many Californians are still feeling the economic pinch and the national scene seems decidedly anti-incumbent, this is no cakewalk for Boxer – but then again, it’s only mid-July, a long time until Nov. 2, and she has only just begun trying to get her message out.

To that end, the Democratic National Committee today launched a “Five Things You Should Know About Carly Fiorina” website, taking aim at the Republican nominee’s record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, her endorsement by Sarah Palin, her comments on climate change and her spotty voting record. The DNC is urging activists to share the information through social media.

Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Joe Biden stumped for Boxer in Atherton

…and I’ve just filed my story, which should be hitting the websites soon. But before I leave this comfy suburb and head up to join the riot coverage in Oakland, I’ll post here the pool report I sent to the White House press folks: way more detail than would fit in the paper, and perhaps more than most people want to know.

As the story notes, the campaign of Republican senatorial nominee and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina issued a statement earlier today saying Boxer and Biden are stumping on an economic stimulus package that has failed to deliver enough jobs for California.

“Either way, the fact that Biden is in California raising money for Boxer tonight represents the Obama administration’s increasing concern for her political future,” Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said, citing new Field Poll numbers that show Boxer leading Fiorina by three percentage points, within the poll’s margin of error. “But the Washington Buddy System is alive and well, and that means career politicians like Barbara Boxer and Joe Biden will do whatever it takes to extend their political careers, even if it means taking liberties with the facts while our fellow Americans struggle with the reality of a dismal economy and an economic stimulus plan that doesn’t deliver.”

Not so, say the Vice President and the Senator. Read it, after the jump…
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Posted on Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Joe Biden, U.S. Senate | 5 Comments »

Fiorina blasts Recovery Act, Boxer in SF

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina was in San Francisco this morning, holding a news conference outside a vacant office building to illustrate what she said is the failure of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus – and by extension, incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who voted for the law.

Fiorina 6-17-10 in Sacramento (AP Photo)“As part of her Election Year rhetoric, Barbara Boxer has spent a lot of time touting the effectiveness of the economic ‘stimulus’ plan she championed. Meanwhile, more than 2.27 million Californians are out of work and unemployment has increased both statewide and here in San Francisco since the plan’s passage,” Fiorina said later Thursday in a news release. “The increasing amount of vacant office space in San Francisco is symptomatic of the jobs lost as a result of bad government policy championed by Barbara Boxer, and it underscores the economic stimulus plan’s abject failure to meet its stated goal: job creation.”

“I come from the real world, and I know that in the real world, economic growth starts with unleashing the talents and energies of California’s workers, small-business owners, innovators and entrepreneurs – not with bigger government,” she added. “It’s clear Barbara Boxer will not fight for policies that will stimulate real economic growth and private-sector job creation, and that’s why we must replace her this November.”

Boxer’s campaign responded by noting that ARRA brought San Francisco almost $625 million for 549 different projects, including 256 research grants totaling $117.8 million to the University of California San Francisco, credited with creating or retaining 568 jobs; $85.5 million for Muni transit infrastructure and maintenance, credited with creating or retaining 568 jobs; $17.9 million for the San Francisco Housing Authority to improve public housing, credited with creating or retaining 36 jobs; and $13.1 million for the San Francisco Unified School District to improve education for children with disabilities.

“Senator Barbara Boxer’s top priority is creating jobs and turning our economy around, and she has a specific plan to do this,” campaign spokeswoman Julie Wong said in an e-mail. “Her plan includes: creating thousands of clean energy jobs and making California the hub of the clean energy economy; ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas; cracking down on Wall Street speculation and instead lending to small businesses; investing in infrastructure and creating new jobs; and reducing the deficit.”

Fiorina has made earlier stops on her “statewide jobs tour” in San Diego, Clovis, Sacramento and Los Angeles; Boxer’s campaign has usually responded by pointing out the Recovery Act money that has flowed to those cities, and even sometimes to the very businesses hosting Fiorina’s events.

Posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senate | 7 Comments »

RNC, state GOP chairs outline path to victory

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and California Republican Party Ron Nehring talked with reporters today to describe an aggressive effort to support the GOP slate in November’s elections.

Steele wouldn’t specify how much money the RNC will sink into its victory operation in California – “a lot,” he said – but vowed that candidates up and down the ticket will have the funding and resources they need, from office staff to voter databases to communications support and beyond.

Steele scoffed when asked whether the national party’s commitment denotes any weak fundraising or organization on the state party’s part.

“We don’t do bailouts, we’re Republicans,” he laughed. “I love you brother, that’s a good one.”

“This has been a tough cycle for everybody at the state level, the county level, the national level when it comes to fundraising,” he said, but Nehring has done a great job of maximizing resources and opportunities. “I think the party’s going to be just fine, the victory dollars we raise are part of our commitment to our state parties … It’s part of the natural course of helping the party.”

Nehring added that “If the RNC doesn’t engage in California, then the press coverage ends up being, ‘The RNC just treats CA as a piggybank.’ That’s not the case here.”

The state party “chose to not wait for the primary before putting out plan together for the general election in California, we put our statewide plan together some time ago in consultation with various campaigns back in the primary,” Nehring said, producing solid relationships with the GOP’s state Legislative caucuses and Congressional delegation as well as the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the RNC and other party organs.

The state GOP has registered more than 140,000 new Republican voters since mid-October, he noted, and that registration effort will continue at full throttle this year before segueing into a strong get-out-the-vote effort in partnership with the national party.

“We’re also setting the stage for 2012,” Nehring said. “As we build out infrastructure in ca, as we build out one heck of a war room at our headquarters in Burbank. All of that will be rolled over into 2012.”

“We will not concede any community in California to the Democrats,” he added, be it African-Americans, Latinos or any other bloc. “This is the time for the Republican Party to build inroads into those communities.”

Much more, after the jump…
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Posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, congressional district 11, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman, Republican Party, Republican politics, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

A musical primary post-mortem

When I’m having a good day, or sometimes when I’m down, I sometimes give myself a gift on the limited budget available to me as a reporter: a 99-cent splurge on new iTunes song for my iPod. And so as the primary election winners strut and the losers lick their wounds, here are a few suggestions for songs they might want to add to their playlists:

Meg Whitman, the billionaire former eBay CEO who spent $71.1 million out of her own pocket to buy the Republican gubernatorial nomination: “Money” by Pink Floyd, or “Killer Queen” by Queen

Steve Poizner, buried under Whitman’s $71.1 million and a 37-percentage-point deficit in the election results: “Wipeout” by the Surfaris

Chris Kelly, who spent $12 million out of pocket to lose the Democratic primary for Attorney General to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris by 17 percentage points; PG&E President and CEO Peter Darbee, whose company spent $46.4 million on the unsuccessful Proposition 16; and Mercury Insurance Group President and CEO Gabriel Tirador, whose company spent $15.9 million on the unsuccessful Proposition 17: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by the Beatles

Carly Fiorina, who as the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate has had the last laugh after people snickered at her “demon sheep” ad attacking rival Tom Campbell: “Sheep” by Pink Floyd

Abel Maldonado, the appointed incumbent who – despite winning the GOP’s nomination to try to keep the lieutenant governor’s office – knows his party wants him and needs him but there ain’t no way it’s ever gonna love him: “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” by Meat Loaf

Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor who won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor but might have his own words from 2008 on same-sex marriage come back to haunt him in November’s general election: “Like It Or Not,” by Madonna

Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles District Attorney who broke from California tradition by being a moderate capable of winning a Republican primary: “Middle of the Road,” by the Pretenders

Tom Torlakson, the Antioch Assemblyman who placed second and so will go to a November runoff – at which time he’s likely to pick up a lot of the Democratic votes that went yesterday to third-place finisher Gloria Romero, along with stronger Democratic turnout overall – against former school district superintendent Larry Aceves for state Superintendent of Public Instruction: “Time Is On My Side,” by the Rolling Stones

Mike Villines, the Clovis Assemblyman and former Assembly Republican Leader widely berated within the GOP for OKing a budget deal with tax hikes last year, who now is eight-tenths of a percentage point – 11,204 votes – behind political unknown Brian FitzGerald, an Insurance Department attorney from Napa who raised no money, in the GOP primary for Insurance Commissioner: “Living on the Edge” by Aerosmith

Brian FitzGerald, who might want to ask himself, “Well, how did I get here?” : “Once in a Lifetime,” by the Talking Heads

Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Abel Maldonado, Attorney General, ballot measures, Carly Fiorina, Chris Kelly, Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor, Meg Whitman, Mike Villines, political humor, Propositions, Steve Poizner, Tom Torlakson, U.S. Senate | 7 Comments »

Chuck DeVore is done for, too

… as Carly Fiorina emerges as the Republican nominee to take on incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in November. No word from Tom Campbell yet.

DeVore is in Tustin tonight; here are his prepared remarks:

My friends,

I just completed my telephone call to Carly Fiorina, to congratulate her on her victory this evening. She is our party’s nominee. I endorse her. I will support her. I will vote for her. And I call upon all of you to do the same in November.

We traveled a long road to get here. When I started this campaign many months ago, I had the support of my wife, my daughters, and my dog.

And I want to say: Diane, you’ve put up with me for 22 years — through moves, deployments, children and campaigns. You are the best wife and companion I can imagine. I love you.

We started this campaign small. Today, I am sincerely humbled to have received the support of hundreds of thousands of Californians from all walks of life.

But let me remind all of you — this campaign was never about me. It was about conservative principles. It was about our Constitution. I believe we did our honorable part in reminding California why it needs both.

Never doubt that what we did in this campaign mattered, and will matter long after we’re gone. All of you in this room — and all of you who voted for me today — can hold your heads high.

Winston Churchill said it best when he said:

“The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.”

My friends … my fellow Californians … my fellow Americans — If you support me, my campaign is over. But if you support our Constitution and our country — that fight goes on. And I promise you this: I will march with you in that fight, “in the ranks of honour,” to the very end.

God bless you all.

Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 3 Comments »