(CNN) – Two Republican statewide candidates in California are touting the results of a state GOP convention straw poll that showed conservative activists overwhelmingly rejecting the gubernatorial bid of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and the likely Senate bid of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
The campaign of gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner boasted about his 64-point victory over Whitman in Sunday's straw poll on their Web site and on Twitter. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore's campaign touted their own dominating win over Fiorina - 91 percent to six percent - in a campaign e-mail celebrating their success at this weekend's Fall convention in Indian Wells.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee then jumped on the news of Fiorina's loss as a sign of tension within the California Republican ranks, and shopped the poll results to Washington reporters.
One problem: There was no official straw poll at the California Republican Party Convention.
"We did not conduct a straw poll at this convention whatsoever," California GOP chairman Ron Nehring said in an e-mail.
So who did? An aide to DeVore - a state Assemblyman who has actively courted the party's conservative wing as he prepares to battle Fiorina for the Republican Senate nomination - acknowledged that Sunday's poll was engineered by the DeVore campaign, even though it was described as a "CRP straw poll" in an e-mail to supporters.
"It was not connected to the party," said DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino. "We printed up the ballots, and they were distributed on Saturday night."
Trevino said that about half of the convention's delegates participated in the straw poll.
He also noted that several Poizner supporters helped conduct the straw poll, but he said they did so in an unofficial capacity. That description was echoed by Poizner campaign spokesman Bettina Inclan, who said the the DeVore campaign engineered the effort.
Inclan, however, said the Poizner campaign had no plans to remove news of their straw poll win from their Web site.
Aides to Whitman and Fiorina were quick to reject the straw poll results.
"Promoting an unsanctioned and controlled 'poll' among a tiny universe of voters nine months out from Election Day has a whiff of desperation," Whitman spokesman Tucker Bounds said in an e-mail.
Fiorina spokeswoman Beth Miller was even more dismissive.
"Let me get this straight, you want me to comment on a Chuck DeVore straw poll that was conducted in the DeVore hospitality suite on Saturday night with a bunch of college Republicans and a lot of free beer flowing?," Miller asked.
UPDATE: Trevino added that the ballots were distributed throughout the convention, even if the ballot box itself was located in DeVore's suite. He said the ballots listed the candidates in alphabetical order.