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Carly Fiorina to help run GOP’s 2012 Senate push

Will the Demon Sheep campaign method be writ large upon next year’s Senate elections? 2010 Republican senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina has become a vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, chairman U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced this morning.

Fiorina 6-17-10 in Sacramento (AP Photo)The NRSC’s news release said Fiorina, serving with Cornyn and NRSC Vice Chairman U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, “will amplify Senate Republicans’ focus on healing America’s troubled economy, and assist with the NRSC’s crucial fundraising efforts in support of a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.”

“I’m pleased to welcome my friend Carly Fiorina to the NRSC team, where her many business and civic achievements will make her an invaluable leader and fundraiser during this critical election cycle,” Cornyn, R-Texas, said in the release. “I look forward to working with Carly to elect strong Republican Senators who will finally put a stop to President Obama’s failed tax-and-spend agenda, and instead promote the economic growth and job creation Americans so badly need.”

Fiorina said the Senate sets the nation’s legislative agenda and she’s proud to work with the NRSC to restore a GOP majority next year. “Republicans in the Senate will provide job creators the opportunities and environment they need to grow our economy, decentralize power out of Washington, and restore fiscal accountability.”

The former HP chairwoman and CEO first got her feet wet in politics supporting 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain. She defeated former congressman Tom Campbell and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, in the June 2010 GOP primary, but lost in November to incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., by 10 percentage points.

UPDATE @ 2:48 P.M.: “Carly Fiorina laid off thousands and outsourced good American jobs overseas, but that didn’t stop national Republicans from investing millions in her campaign last year, which she lost by double digits, or hiring her today,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Press Secretary Shripal Shah said today. “Apparently, Republicans are not only protecting tax breaks for millionaires, they’re also finding them jobs.”

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What’s the story of last night’s CA election?

The Contra Costa Times’ home page headline this morning is “Red tide hits Blue wall,” and that’s undoubtedly true.

As Republicans elsewhere in the nation took 11 governor’s offices from Democrats, Jerry Brown overcame Meg Whitman’s $161.5 million blitz to become the nation’s only Democratic gubernatorial pickup. As Republicans elsewhere in the nation picked up six seats in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer turned away the toughest challenge of her career, from Carly Fiorina. Neither race was nearly as close as polls and pundits had projected.

In fact, neither were most of the down-ticket races; at this hour, with the attorney general’s race still too close to call, it’s possible that Democrats swept the statewide offices. And as a Republican tide undid the Democrats’ electoral victories of the past two cycles to retake the House of Representatives and end Nancy Pelosi’s reign as Speaker, here in the 11th Congressional District, Jerry McNerney – perhaps the state’s most endangered Democratic House member – holds a razor-thin margin over Republican challenger David Harmer as ballots continue to be counted.

Why?

Naturally, your opinion this morning seems to depend on where you’re standing.

“Feeling pessimistic, but bucking the national trend, California voters decided against a pair of untested Republicans in favor of old-school Democrats on Tuesday,” the New York Times reported.

From Robert Cruickshank at Calitics.com:

So. What all does this mean?

First, that Californians want to be governed by Democrats, and certainly not by wealthy CEOs. The Whitman bust is one of the most laughable and epic political failures we’ve ever seen. She spent $160 million to lose by double digits. Ultimately she and Fiorina could not overcome the basic contradiction of Republican politics: their base hates Latinos, but California’s elections are increasingly decided by Latinos.

More importantly, Californians rejected right-wing economics. They rejected Whitman and Fiorina’s attack on government and public spending to produce economic recovery.

From Steve Frank at California News & Views:

In my opinion, our losses were not due to lack of money (except for our registration effort). Nor was it because of a lack of personnel and smart people.

Two words for this massive lost [sic] in California, while the GOP was winning in a landslide–or just winning–in 49 other States.

ARNOLD SCHWARZEGGER. [sic]

Would you trust a political party that gave you $140 billion in defiicits? Would you trust a Party that gave you a Governor looking for ways to give amnesty to illegal aliens?

Would you trust a political party that has a Governor that supports choo-choo trains over economic stability and loves ObamaCare?

Arnold brought us to 12.4% unemployment and a Great Depression.

Arnold also bankrupted the California Republican Party–he caused divisions and disputes–kept donors from supporting the GOP.

With Arnold as the titular head of the California GOP–with a fiscal record that put us into a Depression, with policies like AB 32 that have caused massive unemployment and will devastate the Satte over the next few years, with his refusal to support his own political party–after seven years he has done the impossible.

He destroyed a political party and he has destroyed a whole State–Our slogan now is “Welcome to the Tarnished State”.

Any wonder the Republican Party of California lost most everything yesterday?

So, readers, what do you think? Latino outrage, class warfare, a wildly unpopular Republican incumbent governor, lousy candidates or campaigns, old habits dying hard, or something else entirely — why couldn’t the GOP seal the deal here in California?

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Brown and Boxer get out the vote in Oakland

Several hundred Bay Area Democrats chose to forego the start of the fifth game of the World Series this evening in favor of packing into a section of Oakland’s Jack London Square for a final get-out-the-vote rally with most of the Democratic slate of statewide candidates.

Cynthia Rapak, 62, of San Francisco, wore a Giants cap as a sign of her torn allegiances; she said she wanted Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown “to see that I’ll make the ultimate sacrifice.”

“The Giants might win tonight, but civic duty comes first – I always vote,” said the retired Oakland Unified School District teacher, noting she believes the campaign’s endgame bodes well for Brown. “Meg went 11 places, and Jerry is 72 and he went to 12. He talked about civic dialogue and she talked about managing; she doesn’t have a clue.”

She and the rest of the crowd heard from Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for attorney general; Dave Jones, the Democratic nominee for insurance commissioner; John Chiang, the incumbent state controller; and Debra Bowen, the incumbent secretary of state before the top of the ticket began to take the stage: incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. By then it was the bottom of the fifth inning, but the cheering, sign-waving crowd no longer seemed to mind.

“You’re the key to sending me back to fight for the middle class, to fight for jobs … to fight against the special interests,” Boxer said, exhorting the crowd to get everyone they know to the polls tomorrow.

Then, backdropped by Port of Oakland cargo cranes and a Bay sunset, Brown took the podium and thanked the Democratic slate for “making this a real team victory. We’ll win tomorrow, we’ll win for you.”

He noted the crisply uniformed Oakland Military Institute students lining the back of the stage, and said the Democrats’ goal is to make sure all California students have the resources and opportunities they need to achieve solid educations.

“Victory brings even more challenges – in fact, the campaign is a piece of cake (compared) to fixing the budget,” he said. “I didn’t make this mess, but I sure want to fix it.”

Just as Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman has claimed in her ads, California was working well when she arrived her 30 years ago, he said – and he was governor at the time. “And you know what? It’s going to start working again for everybody.”

In a final jab at his opponent, he directed supporters seeking details of his platform to his campaign website. “Whitman’s plan is mostly pictures, but I have more respect for you,” he said.

And then, by partway through the top of the sixth inning, it was over.

1

NRSC launches attack ad against Boxer

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has launched its first independent expenditure attack ad against U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

Note that the narrator and all the sad-faced people in the ad are women – a key swing vote that Republican nominee Carly Fiorina is trying to woo. A Public Policy Institute of California poll released last week showed that among likely voters, women favor Boxer over Fiorina 48 percent to 32 percent with 16 percent undecided; the poll had a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

This is part of a $3 million ad blitz the NRSC is mounting in the final days of the campaign; in all, it has dedicated about $5 million to the race. NRSC Press Secretary Amber Marchand said:

“Millionaire Senator Barbara Boxer has spent her entire career looking out for the best interests of one person: herself. Boxer’s partisan, ineffective work in Washington fighting for higher taxes and job killing policies haven’t helped the families, seniors, and job creators in California who are facing more than 12 percent unemployment today.”

Rose Kapolczynski, Boxer’s campaign manager, responded:

“Out of state independent expenditure campaigns have poured more than $12 million into this race, trying to mislead Californians and distorting Barbara Boxer’s record. The fact is that Barbara Boxer’s top priority is creating more California jobs and she voted for the biggest middle class tax cut in history, while Carly Fiorina laid off California workers and shipped jobs overseas. Fiorina didn’t care about California jobs then and she doesn’t care about them now.”

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Carly Fiorina is in the hospital

Deborah Bowker, chief of staff for the campaign of U.S. Senate Republican nominee Carly Fiorina, issued this statement this morning:

“Carly learned more than a year and a half ago that she, like millions of women, had breast cancer. After successfully battling cancer, she had reconstructive surgery this summer and remains cancer free today. However, this morning Carly came down with an infection associated with the reconstructive surgery and, as a result, she was admitted to the hospital to receive antibiotics to treat this infection. While this will impact her campaign schedule today, Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon. Carly is looking forward to getting back to her full campaign schedule and to defeating Barbara Boxer on November 2.”

Sidelined a week before Election Day, while still down in the latest polls – not good for Fiorina.

UPDATE @ 11:03 A.M.: “We wish Carly Fiorina a speedy recovery and hope she is able to return to her normal schedule soon,” Rose Kapolczynski, campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in an e-mailed statement.

UPDATE @ 12:05 P.M.: This just in from National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex.:

“After learning that Carly was admitted to the hospital to treat an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery this summer, I reached out to her to wish her a full and speedy recovery.

“It was apparent during her triumphant battle against breast cancer that Carly is a fighter, and I have no doubt that she will be back on the campaign trail very soon; in the interim I hope Californians will join me and Sandy in keeping Carly in our thoughts and prayers.”

UPDATE @ 2:28 P.M.: Carole Uhlaner, a voter-behavior expert and associate professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, said there’s not a lot of hard data on how voters react to a sick candidate, “but I think the answer is that it’s varied.”

Voters can begin to worry whether the candidate is well enough to serve a full term in the office he or she is seeking, she said; there’s anecdotal evidence of this throughout American history, notably in the lengths to which candidate President John F. Kennedy went to keep his Addison’s disease out of the public eye.

On the other hand, if the illness isn’t so serious, it can humanize the candidate and create sympathy among the electorate, Uhlaner said.

University of California, Berkeley Political Science Professor Jack Citrin agreed.

“I think what happens if a candidate’s health becomes an issue in the sense that it makes voters doubt they’ll be able to serve in office, then it will hurt them,” he said. “If it’s some kind of a minor ailment … I don’t think it has any effect one way or another.”

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Unions target Fiorina, Whitman fundraisers

Watch for snarled streets tonight in Piedmont and tomorrow in Burlingame as labor unions and others protest fundraising events for Republican U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina and Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, respectively.

The Fiorina event from 5 to 7 p.m. today on Bellevue Avenue in Piedmont, starting at $500 a head, will feature former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice also will headline Whitman’s 6 p.m. Tuesday, $1,000-and-up event at the Hyatt Regency on Burlingame’s Bayshore Boulevard, along with Grammy-winning songrwriter, producer and singer David Foster.

“Holding fundraisers with top officials of the Bush administration—whose unfair economic policies and short-sighted war in Iraq created a devastating crisis for American families–symbolizes exactly what is at stake in this election,” Malinda Markowitz, a co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, said in a news release. “Whitman and Fiorina are running on programs that would return us to the failed policies of the past. We need elected leaders who carry the values of nurses, caring, compassion, and community, not the corporate greed and failure so symbolized by the Bush administration and the CEO records of Whitman and Fiorina. Whitman and Fiorina are just too extreme for California voters, as they are demonstrating yet again.”

But the Republicans’ campaigns say it’s not the candidates who are too extreme.

“For 28 years in Washington, DC, Barbara Boxer has been first in line to promote the extreme and destructive agenda set by her special interest backers, so it comes as no surprise that these very same allies would work together to manufacture the illusion of support for her in an election year,” Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “The last thing they want in Washington is a Senator like Carly Fiorina who, as a political outsider with real work experience, is beholden to no one and will make decisions based on what will get California’s economy moving again and create jobs for the more than 2.2 million Californians out of work today.”

And Whitman spokesman Darrel Ng said Democratic gubernatorial nominee “Jerry Brown is bought and paid for by the unions. The events are ploys coordinated by a group of radical union bosses who have consistently misrepresented the views of hardworking nurses throughout the state. Californians deserve to know what Jerry Brown will give them in return for their generous financial support. Finally, how is this for union dues well spent? CNA President Rose DeMoro, who has never worked as a nurse a day in her life, is paid $300,000, five times more than the median salary of an American nurse.”