(CNN) – In the same southern California hotel Carly Fiorina declared victory in the GOP Senate primary several hours earlier, she and the rest of the state Republican ticket gathered in hopes of seizing momentum in the key races for U.S. Senate and governor.
Both Fiorina and GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman emphasized they were the outsiders running against Democratic veterans and said their business experience as former CEOs best equipped them to fix the state's massive economic problems: a $19 billion budget shortfall and a 12.6 percent unemployment rate.
"You know career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. have just woken up to their worst nightmare: two businesswomen from the real world who have created jobs, know how to get things done, know how to balance budgets and deliver the results," Whitman said to the cheering crowd. She was referring to herself, a former eBay CEO and Fiorina, who used to head Hewlett Packard.
Fiorina is running against Sen. Barbara Boxer, the three-term Democratic incumbent who has been considered vulnerable because of her poor showing in recent polls. Even before she captured the GOP nomination, Boxer started attacking Fiorina for her stewardship at HP, during which thousands of workers were laid off or whose jobs were outsourced overseas, and yesterday launched a website specifically looking at her troubled tenure while at the company.
Whitman and Fiorina, both of whom are running for office for the first time and who advised John McCain during the 2008 election, went on the attack against their Democratic opponents who are political veterans. They are hoping their outsider status will help propel their candidacies in a year of upheaval for those in office.
"I am ready to give Jerry Brown the hardest and toughest fight he has seen in his 40 years in politics," Whitman said.
"This election is about the future, not the past–not the tired old politics of a bunch of tired old career politicians," Fiorina told the audience.
For his part, Brown tried to put Whitman on the defensive by inviting her to a series of 10 town halls to discuss the economy, jobs and the state budget deficit.
"If I never see another political ad in my life, I'll be happy," Brown told a news conference in Los Angeles. "And I'll bet that most people feel the same way. The town halls will show the voters that we can act as adults and actually treat each other with respect."
Whitman responded that "there will be plenty of debates in the future. But in the present what I recommend to Jerry Brown, instead of playing political games, is to lay out his plan for California."
Brown also jabbed Whitman over the huge amount - more than $71 million - she poured of her personal fortune into the primary race, asking why she doesn't spend of some of that money to help the state. She has said she would be willing to spend up to $150 million to win the governor's seat.
Whitman had her own jab back at Brown: "Now speaking of money, people ask me all the time, 'Can elections be bought?' The answer is elections cannot be bought, but candidates can and Jerry Brown is bought and paid for by the union bosses," she told the GOP gathering.
– CNN's Tim Hart and Tom Larson contributed to this story