Motivated by a tightening race, Republican Senate challenger Carly Fiorina said Sunday that she is hopeful California voters will make national news on Nov. 2 by ousting incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who said that voters will continue to back her.
Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, introduced Judy Woodruff of PBS’ “NewsHour” to about 75 supporters gathered at Republican headquarters in Sacramento as an example of rising national interest in the race.
In a reference to the red state-blue state descriptions for states that favor either Republican candidates or Democratic candidates, Fiorina said everyone had assumed California will always be deep blue in voting for Democrats.
“Maybe, just maybe, the people of California make up their own minds,” she said. “And this year, what happens in California on Nov. 2 is going to be national news.”
Recent polls show Fiorina in a close race against Boxer, who is seeking a fourth term. A University of Southern California-Los Angeles Times poll released Sunday showed Boxer maintaining a narrow advantage, 47 percent to 41 percent, but that was a smaller gap than the same poll showed a month ago. A Rasmussen survey last week showed Fiorina within two percentage points of Boxer.
With the race heading into the final stretch, Boxer spent Sunday afternoon at the San Fernando Valley’s Democratic headquarters in a Van Nuys strip mall. She urged several hundred enthusiastic supporters to vote next Tuesday.
“You are the key,” Boxer said, “the key to a very important election that is going to decide, ‘Are we going to take our country in the right direction or are we going to go backwards?’”
Boxer warned that Fiorina would set back California’s efforts to develop its renewable energy industries. And despite an anti-incumbent mood and criticism of President Barack Obama’s policies, Boxer predicted she will prevail on Nov. 2.
“The people haven’t voted and when they vote, we will win,” she said.
The Senate race in California has been marked by sharp exchanges in debates and in television ads between two women who hold contrasting views on everything from abortion and immigration to federal stimulus spending and health care reform.
Boxer has portrayed Fiorina as an out-for-herself corporate executive who laid off thousands of employees and outsourced jobs to China and India. Fiorina paints Boxer as a hyper-partisan, career politician who has done little for California and merely wants to protect her job.
“We have a great opportunity to send a message to Washington, D.C., and that message is that 28 years is long enough, thank you very much, Barbara Boxer,” Fiorina said.
With the seat up for grabs, Fiorina declared Nov. 2 a new beginning in trying to energize her supporters.
“We got to work really hard for the next nine days to make sure that on the evening of Nov. 2 we have one hell of a party,” she said.
At Boxer’s rally, Emily Woods, 22, said she is registered as a Republican but had not decided which Senate candidate would get her vote. She said she drove to the event from Ventura County and liked what she heard from Boxer concerning job growth.
She said she saw Boxer’s opponent as “helping more businesses, where Boxer is helping more individuals. I think right now, the individuals need to take the lead.
Insurance broker Miles McFann of Elk Grove volunteered to make campaign calls for Fiorina for the first time because he said he believes she will represent the people of California rather than view the position as a permanent job. Fiorina has said she would serve only two terms if elected.
McCann, who declined to state a party affiliation, said he was supportive of Republican candidates but disagreed with the party’s strict anti-abortion stance.
“I probably won’t always agree with Carly, but I believe she will represent the people and not just be part of the governing body,” McFann said.
He predicted that whoever wins on Nov. 2, the winner will not be able to claim a mandate.
“It’ll be a squeaker,” McFann said.
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