While California is generally considered a safe “blue” state, a July 24th Rasmussen Reports poll shows Fiorina trailing Boxer by only four points, 45 to 41. This is a five point improvement from a March poll conducted by the same company.
John Cornyn, the Republican Senator from Texas and chairman of the influential National Republican Senatorial Committee, applauded Fiorina’s decision to run. “If Fiorina gets in, California will be an interesting place.”
At Stanford, Fiorina double-majored in Philosophy and Medieval History and graduated with both honors and distinction. In her autobiography, Tough Choices, she reveals that she considered college a place to learn, not a means to earn a living. She chose the classes that interested her the most, including some in subjects such as music, astronomy, and anthropology.
However, Fiorina does not have completely positive memories of her alma mater. She confesses in her book, “My time at Stanford wasn’t particularly happy,” adding, “I don’t remember having a lot of fun; I do remember working all the time.” Fiorina’s Stanford experience was intensive, as she carried a heavy course load and wrote an honors thesis on medieval history. Furthermore, to finance her room and board, she worked three days per week as a secretary at DJ’s Hair Design, a local salon that still remains in operation today.
Ever since her graduation, Fiorina has participated in various Stanford events. Most notably, she delivered the keynote address at the 2001 Commencement Ceremony. This speech gained national media attention as her audience included both Bill and Hillary Clinton, who attended the graduation of their daughter Chelsea.
Senator Boxer has indicated that she will attack Fiorina’s record in the McCain campaign and her problematic departure from Hewlett-Packard (HP). Fiorina’s tenure as CEO of HP was marked by her decision to acquire Compaq, which did not produce the profits promised. HP’s stock rose 7% the day Fiorina’s departure was announced.
According to the L.A. Times, Sen. Boxer enjoys less public support than her Democratic counterpart and Stanford graduate Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ’55. Boxer has been under fire for her diva-like personality. In July 2009, she interrupted U.S. Army Brigadier General Michael Walsh when he addressed her as “Ma’am”, demanding that he use “Senator” instead because she had “worked hard for her title.”
Fiorina’s run for Senate faces numerous challenges. DeVore, her main opponent in the Republican primary, has criticized her for her lackluster voting record. An article in The San Francisco Chronicle states that Fiorina has only voted in five out of a possible 18 elections since registering to vote in Santa Clara County in 2000. The newspaper also reports public records showing that Fiorina had never voted in Maryland and New Jersey, the two states where she lived prior to moving to California.
Beth Miller, Fiorina’s spokeswoman, disputes these allegations as “just wrong.” In contrast, DeVore claims he has “never missed an election.”
The state’s struggling economy and high unemployment could help Fiorina’s campaign. California Republicans are already criticizing Sen. Boxer for strongly supporting Presidents Obama’s stimulus plan on the basis that it would bring jobs to the state, which has yet to happen. However, Fiorina also supported the stimulus bill. Moreover, Fiorina, who is pro-life, may also have trouble winning in a majorly pro-choice California.
Obama’s dwindling popularity and the Republican’s lead in the nationwide generic Senate election vote may increase Fiorina’s chances. In July, National Public Radio (NPR) released a poll giving the Republicans a one percent lead in a generic nationwide 2010 midterm elections after trailing by more than 10% last November.
In a written statement, Fiorina declared, “The people of California have serious concerns about job creation, economic growth and the role of government in solving problems that touch our lives.” Additionally, the statement read, “I have received a great deal of encouragement to make a run for the Senate in 2010 from people across the political spectrum.”
While the election is more than a year away, Fiorina’s campaign is gaining momentum in what promises to be a hotly-contested battle.