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August 17, 2009

Is Mrs. Boxer In Trouble In CA?

I doubt it but it's fun to dream while there's still time to*.

Democrat Barbara Boxer's quest for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate may give Californians a chance to pass judgment on Washington in the Obama era: Do voters approve of the early performance of the Democratic president and Congress? Or is it time to restore more power to Republicans, in this case to a controversial former Silicon Valley CEO making her first run for elective office?

What looks increasingly likely is that Boxer will be in for the re-election fight of her career. While she has yet to announce her candidacy, all signs point to a run by Republican Carly Fiorina, the charismatic ex-chief of Hewlett-Packard who was ousted from her job in 2005 and last year served as a top surrogate for John McCain's presidential bid.

Fiorina would bring a combination of traits to the race never faced before by Boxer: She is a woman with the wherewithal to pump millions of her own dollars into her candidacy and probably raise millions more from others. And historically, the election after a president first takes office has not been kind to the party in charge at the White House. Exhibit A is 1994, when Democrats lost control of Congress halfway into President Bill Clinton's first term.

On a statewide level, California is as blue a state as there is but there are some interesting things that might help Fiorina if she runs.

First, the state is a mess and Change! might be on the agenda, especially if things don't get better locally and nationally.

Second, a challenge to Prop 8 isn't going to be on the ballot next year which may help keep turnout lower. Odds are what Republicans and persuadable Democrats there are will be more motivated to turn out than if interest groups are ginning up the liberal machinery.

Third, Meg Whitman is running as a Republican for Governor. Aside from her being another woman (for whatever that's worth, not much I suspect) business competency will likely be at the forefront of the campaign. I seem to recall Fiorina having some issues at HP but if the environment stays the same, business experience may look pretty good compared to political hackery and celebrity.

Fourth, there's Boxer herself. She hasn't been in a competitive race in awhile. Any sort of serious challenge is likely to produce an embarrassing outburst by her. Even if Fiorina doesn't win, that alone would be worth the campaign.

As unlikely as it is, sending Mrs. Boxer home next year would be sweet. Hell, I'd settle for making her sweat one out.

*The link is via Drudge so it may be getting slammed and hard to load.

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posted by DrewM. at 01:42 PM

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