Believing a huge upset win in California is now within reach, the Republican Party is pouring $3 million into GOP Senate challenger Carly Fiorina's battle against incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, forcing Democrats scrambling to respond just one week before Election Day.
The $3 million from the National Republican Senatorial Committee comes on top of the $4.8 million it has already spent in the race. Pundits see that massive influx of dollars as a clear indication that incumbent Democratic Boxer is in serious jeopardy, because the GOP usually does not spend heavily in Golden State races.
This year, however, all bets are off. Newsmax contributor, best-selling author, and Fox News commentator Dick Morris tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview that the Fiorina-Boxer contest is so close that the winner may not be determined until several days after Election Night.
"I think the race is very close," Morris tells Newsmax. "I think that Boxer is a little bit ahead, but I think she's under 50 percent of the vote. And I think that that election is going to be very close.
"That's an election where I don't think we'll know the results until two or three days later," Morris says.
On Monday, the co-chairwoman of Boxer's campaign, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California let slip just how much trouble Boxer may be in.
Interviewed off-camera just moments before a campaign appearance on Boxer's behalf, Feinstein, was asked by a reporter how things were going.
"Bad," was her one-word response.
Asked later to elaborate, Feinstein appeared to backtrack, saying: "I think the prevailing view, and I don't think this is necessarily correct, is that it's a very difficult time, there's no question about that."
The polls give ample cause for Feinstein's negative response, and show Fiorina clearly within striking distance.
The RealClearPolitics poll average in the race has the Democratic incumbent leading by just 2.8 percent. But that average is skewed by an "outlier" Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California survey, which showed Boxer ahead by 8 percent. Without that result factored in, the race is much closer.
All other recent polls in the race show Fiorina within 5 points, and a poll by Wilson Research shows Fiorina actually leading by 3 points. Fiorina is within the margin of error in several polls, meaning that the race is a statistical dead heat.
Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, has made job creation and the economy a major part of her campaign. In recent days, she loaned her campaign another $1 million, bringing her total contribution to her own campaign to $6.5 million since the primaries.
Fiorina plans to pour her cash into buying air time for a new ad titled "Crushed." The hard-hitting ad was produced by Fred Davis, the same GOP consultant who created the famous "demon sheep" ad that helped Fiorina win the GOP primary.
"Barbara Boxer failed to protect California jobs," the ad states. "[And] praises the stimulus plan while 2.25 million Californians are unemployed … Our hopes crushed by Washington — the legacy of Barbara Boxer."
The NRSC money is being spent on ads that specifically target women voters, because polls show Fiorina leading among men but trailing Boxer by 17 points among women. Even slight inroads in that demographic could put Boxer on the ropes.
"It's the day after the election and if we reelect Barbara Boxer, nothing will change. She'll continue vote for higher taxes, job-crushing policies, just like she's done for 28 years," the ad states. "Nothing will change. And Barbara Boxer will continue to be what she's always been — self-serving, ineffective, more of the same.
"If you want to change Congress," the ad's narrator continues, "we'll need to change the people we send there."
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Boxer's campaign manager, Rose Kapolczynski, sent Fiorina supporters an urgent e-mail on Monday warning that the incumbent senator would be outspent by "at least" $1 million in the campaign's closing days.
"And that puts everything at risk," she wrote.
If heavily Democratic California were to elect a Republican senator, it could deliver a body blow to Democrats' hopes of maintaining control of the Senate.
Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen tells Newsmax that he still expects Boxer beat Fiorina. But he adds that if Republicans can win in both California and in Colorado, where GOP candidate Ken Buck is in an extremely tight race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, it would leave them needing only one other upset in either West Virginia or Washington to achieve the breakthrough they need to seize control of both chambers of Congress.
Boxer told the audience at a San Jose rally Monday that the intense national focus on the race is over the top.
"The pundits, the pollsters, the reporters have all decided that the Republicans are going to win everything," Boxer said according to the San Jose Mercury News. "And the vote hasn't taken place yet, you know, and so my own view is, let the people vote."
Boxer reportedly is planning $4 million in ad expenditures herself in the closing days of the campaign, too.
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