Poll Watch: Senator Barbara Boxer Continues Unpopular

Posted Posted in Barbara Boxer, California Republican Party

California U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer answering a question during election 2010

The latest PPP Poll is quite revealing.

There’s no such post election bounce for Barbara Boxer. She continues to have more voters (47%) disapproving of her than approve (45%). That was the case throughout her entire 2010 campaign and she got reelected by double digits anyway. You can take that as a sign that the entire GOP is hopeless in California or simply that the party needs to start nominating much stronger candidates but at any rate what they’re doing now is not good enough to even hold an unpopular Senator to a single digit win.

Obviously, the California GOP needs to rebrand itself and recruit new and younger candidates for the future. It may take quite a while though – if ever.

CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer Outspends Carly Fiorina in Senate Race

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina
fiorinaboxerb CA Sen Poll Watch: Is Carly Fiorina Beginning to SURGE in the Polls?

Republican Nominee Carly Fiorina and California Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer

No surprise here as Barbara Boxer had no Democrat Primary opponent, was a long-time incumbent U.S. Senator and had almost $ 8 million in the bank before her campaign began. Unfortunately, there is a lag in the FEC online reporting internet posting and I do not have a link to each of the candidates’ reports as of yet.

But, the Los Angeles Times has a fairly good precise.

In final campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission a month after Boxer’s victory, the senator reported raising just over $28 million and spending almost all of it over the course of the campaign. Fiorina raised $22.6 million and spent more than $22 million, including a $1-million personal loan to the campaign that was repaid.

Fiorina’s tally also included more than $5.5 million that the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive gave to her campaign during the contested GOP primary. Without a primary opponent, Boxer was able to spend most of her money during the general election campaign.

What is the most interesting fact in the reporting is that Carly Fiorina limited her personal wealth damages to around $5 Million, unlike unsuccessful California GOP Gubernatorial canddidate Meg Whitman who blew over $100 plus Million.

Boxer’s campaign had believed that one of their biggest threats was Fiorina’s personal wealth, estimated at between $27.7 million and $121 million in reports filed with the secretary of the Senate. Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said one of the biggest surprises of the campaign was that Fiorina “never wrote the really big check.” The $1-million loan was made during the general election, but was paid back before the end of the campaign.

Without major personal spending by Fiorina, Boxer ended up with an advantage over her foe on television despite the more than $8.8 million in outside ads targeting Boxer that her campaign tracked.

But, Fiorina’s failure to write the “really big check” and to pay herself back $1 Million in loans to the campaign, instead of spending the money on television ad buys will create some angst in Republican circles.

The LA Times reports that Fiorina, who has substantial personal wealth, padded a $5.5 million loan to herself made during her contested primary with a $1 million loan made during the general election. But the second loan was “paid back before the end of the campaign.” Keep in mind: the National Republican Senatorial Committee poured money into that race in the final weeks, including a $2 million buy in the last days.

Apparently, Fiorina had a stop limit on what she was personally going to spend on this race, regardless of the polls, etc. I mean, $ 5 plus Million personal expenditure, is enough money for most couples to comfortably live happily ever after in retirement. If anything, Carly was prudent and political blind ambition did not overcome her common sense – unlike Meg Whitman.

But, pundits will harp that Fiorina should have spent her last dime on the race to beat Boxer – and it would not have made a damn bit of difference. Fiorina lost the race by 10 points ( a million votes) and Whitman who spent many times more on television ads lost by even more. I have discussed the reasons why previously and more television ads may have made some diffference but……probably not.

With her well-financed treasury, Boxer’s campaign was able to spend about $14 million on television advertising during the general election phase — more than half of it in the Los Angeles media market — compared with the $4.8 million spent on ads by Fiorina’s campaign, the final reports indicated.

Carly lost Los Angeles County by almost 700,000 votes (62.2% to 32.2%) and whether a concentrated and DIFFERENT television ad campaign would have made a difference is really speculative.

I do think the national GOP has learned from this California November election disaster though.

Ultimately, all those groups helped Boxer cement her 10-point margin of victory — raising questions about whether Republican groups will be as willing to pour money into another California Senate race, given that they were unable this year to take advantage of the odds in their favor .

“I think we are starting to feel like California is an island nation,” said UC San Diego Professor Thad Kousser. “The national groups have gone back and forth on whether to spend money in California because it costs so much more…. This is yet another example of why national Republican money can simply be wasted in California — and you have wasted a lot of it.”

It is arguable whether a few more $ Millions spent in California would have been BETTER redirected to states like Washington and Nevada where the money would have had a broader reach in smaller media markets with less population. The Washington and Nevada Senate races were certainly closer in outcome than Fiorina Vs. Boxer.

As I have said before, I don’t think too many Republican donors are going to waste their time and money with any California statewide races anytime soon.

CA-Sen: How Barbara Boxer Defeated Carly Fiorina

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina

California U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and Governor-Elect Jerry Brown, November 2, 2010

One answer: Los Angeles County

Look at the California election map:

And, then the results from Los Angeles County.

Republican Carly Fiorina performed well in many California counties but the almost 600,000 vote deficit in Los Angeles County spelled her doom.

Why?

Demographics for one, since Los Angeles city and its outlying cities have large ethnic Hispanic, Jewish, African American and Asian populations who overwhelmingly register and vote Democratic. President Obama is very popular with these communities and he was very visible in campaigning for the long term incumbent.

Both sides said that in the end, Boxer also got a significant boost from President Obama, who came out to campaign for her and was featured in television and radio ads in the closing weeks of the campaign.

While Obama’s approval ratings have dipped well below 50% in other parts of the country, 54% of voters in California approved of how the president is doing his job.

“In the rest of the country it was 1994 all over again, in California it was 2008 all over again,” said UC San Diego political science professor Thad Kousser. “This is a state where the president still has some support, where it seems like the Democrats turned out in large numbers, and it wasn’t quite the same threatening electoral conditions that we’ve seen elsewhere.”

Also, the number of union member households is especially large – and the LA unions turn out their voters to the polls.

With the sprawling LA landscape, the campaign tool of choice is, of course, television and Barbara Boxer won on that front as well.

They had roared into the fall campaign with a significant financial advantage — allowing them to air television ads for more than a week unchallenged by Fiorina. In mid-September, they launched the first of a series of scorching ads detailing the layoffs and outsourcing during her tenure at HP, as well as the millions of dollars in compensation she received.

Boxer’s campaign manager, Rose Kapolczynski, said at that juncture, many voters still did not know much about Fiorina: “That was an opportunity to define her,” she said.

Within a few weeks, polling showed that Fiorina had slumped by eight points.

Boxer’s pollster Mark Mellman said Fiorina’s business experience initially impressed voters but “when people understood what she really did at HP, it was devastating to her.”

“If there is a mortal sin in this economy, it is exporting jobs,” he said.

And, Carly Fiorina never did try to defend her record at HP “on air.” This was a critical mistake and although Fiorina had written a book “Tough Choices” which defended her career and record at HP the ads featuring former laid off and outsourced employees with NO defense were devastating. These ads took the “wind” out of her campaign, especially in TV susceptible Los Angeles. Boxer’s TV and radio ads droned on and on.

When Boxer, right after Labor Day, started to define Fiorina as a greedy, corporate executive who was insensitive to her employees, Fiorina should have fielded her own ads with “real” HP employees and with Californians whose lives were negatively affected by Barbara Boxer policies.

But, Marty Wilson and his staff elected to go in a different direction.

But Fiorina campaign manager Marty Wilson said the campaign decided early on to focus on defining Boxer as an ineffective and partisan incumbent who had been in office too long, to the detriment of Californians. Fiorina’s ads glossed over her corporate record to focus on her pledge to find common ground in Washington.

“We could not win the election if we played on Barbara Boxer’s turf, which would have been to get into a big, long, lengthy discussion about why corporate CEOs have to make the decisions that they make. It was not a winning argument for us,” Wilson said. Neither, however, was the strategy they pursued.

“At the end of the day, the simple answer is we didn’t get enough votes,” Wilson said.

I think Marty ignored a cardinal rule of politics in this case (and I do know Marty and he and I may argue this point – by the way, they know how I feel). When someone hits you with negative ads (especially on California television), you must respond immediately or the voters just might to start to believe them. Obviously, LA County voters did.

The inability of the campaign to respond quickly and respond in kind “on air” in Los Angeles, cost them whatever chance they had to win this race. Independent TV ad expenditures later in the campaign after Fiorina had already been defined as “out for herself” were not heard by the voters.

It was already too late.

CA-Sen: Senator Barbara Boxer Wins Re-Election Over Carly Fiorina

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina

California Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina talks to volunteers and supporters at California GOP election night headquarters in Irvine, California last night

It wasn’t a pretty loss for Carly Fiorina where polls had the race much closer than the 9-10 point Boxer victory.
After monitoring results overnight, Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina conceded defeat Wednesday morning after her hard-fought race with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, stating that she was proud of every moment of her campaign.

Speaking to reporters and a small group of supporters with her husband at her headquarters in Irvine, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive said the experience had been a privilege and that she had been touched by every person she met across California. She said she ran because she was concerned that attaining the American dream had become too hard for too many people and that she was still worried about out-of-control spending in Washington.

“We had an exceptional campaign,” Fiorina said. “In the end we could not overcome the registration that Democrats have, and in particular in L.A. County.”

Demographics played a role (look at the California map) but so did the relentless negative advertising by Barbara Boxer who portrayed Carly Fiorina as a greedy corporate executive who laid employees off by shipping their jobs offshore and enriched herself at the same time. The late in the campaign ads which featured outsourced Hewlett-Packard employees was devastating to Fiorina – particularly in populous Los Angeles County where the ads played ubiquitously in the last two weeks of the campaign.

I was at the Irvine, California Fiorina headquarters yesterday afternoon through the early morning hours. Here are some photos which I snapped:

Radio talk show host of Salem Communications Dennis Prager

California Board of Equalization member Michelle Steel being interviewed



Liz Mair
, Flap and Dan Blatt

So, one has to consider whether it was worth the Carly Fiorina effort to challenge Barbara Boxer in “deep blue” California, raise, plus spend, the millions of dollars in campaign cash and come out with a loss that is about what Matt Fong experienced in 1998.

Somehow I think it was, since Boxer herself acknowledged that this race was “the toughest and roughest campaign of my life.” Plus, Boxer had to utilize the full resurces of her incumbency to fight back Fiorina, including multiple President Obama fundraising events. Boxer spent $ millions which could have been redistributed to other states for other Democrat campaigns. And, she spent like a drunken sailor on television ads the last month of the campaign.

But, with this said, California Democrats who have a massive registration advantage, pretty much swept the California election board and shellacked the GOP – from Jerry Brown’s election as Governor to Loretta Sanchez’s re-election to the House. Even GOP favorite California Attorney General candidate Steve Cooley is in a close race which will be decided by absentee ballots (counted over the next few weeks).

I doubt whether the national GOP will place as many resources into California to win a statewide race (such as Senator Diane Feinstein’s re-election in two years) anytime soon – or my lifetime.

California is the new “Solid Blue” Massachusetts, New York or Maryland.

CA-Sen: OOPS Barbara Boxer and Maxine Waters Did It Again

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Maxine Waters
7c4e78a62d4740a7ac9abc1 CA Sen: Rep. Maxine Waters Refunds Sen. Barbara Boxer Campaign Cash   Trying to Clean Up Her Act Prior to Ethics Trial

California U.S. Senate Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Maxine Waters in July 2010

You remember the FLAP?

This will make for some interesting political theater after the GOP takes over the House and Maxine Waters gets to face her ethics trial.

As the Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, and a 28-year inhabitant of Washington, DC, locked in a surprisingly tight race for re-election, one might expect Barbara Boxer to avoid controversial figures like the plague.  But the challenges facing Boxer as she seeks to win a fourth term in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday apparently haven’t stopped her from buying the endorsement of her close friend, embattled Rep. Maxine Waters, once again.  Below the fold are images of the pages of Waters’ 2010 general election “slate mailer” obtained by Big Government on Saturday, which showcases her endorsement.  On page three of the mailer itself, Boxer is prominently recommended by Waters.

Here is some of the endorsement mailer:

I am looking forward to see both Maxine Water’s and Barbara Boxer’s FEC report on the expenditure after the election.

You know – follow the money.

Let’s hope that on the Barbara Boxer side it becomes a moot exercise with the election of Carly Fiorina. In any case, Maxine Waters is going to have some ethics problems.

CA-Sen Poll Watch: Carly Fiorina Within Reach of Barbara Boxer?

Posted Posted in Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina

I would say yes. 

In fact, Real Clear Politics has moved the California Senate race to toss-up over the weekend from leans Democrat.

Let’s look at the last few polls with Senator Barbara Boxer’s supposed insurmountable lead disappearing into the margin of error. Remember in the latest PPP poll which is a Democrat sponsored poll, Boxer was ahead by 9 points just one week ago.

The California polls are skewing the number of Democrats Vs. Republicans Vs. Decline to State voters. They really have NO idea who will turn out and actually vote in such a large state.

I think Carly Fiorina, despite the scathing negative TV ads, will ultimately win this race by 3 points. Boxer has done a poor job for California, the economy here sucks and voters will punish her by sending her to retirement.