September 28th, 2009
12:49 PM ET
13 years ago

Whitman, Fiorina reject California GOP 'straw poll'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Meg Whitman, left, and Carly Fiorina lost in a straw poll conducted by rivals at the California GOP convention."](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.

Filed under: California • Carly Fiorina • Chuck DeVore • Meg Whitman • Popular Posts • Steve Poizner
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Jim

    I'm a California voter who actively follows our state's politics. It's nice to see women taking a prominent role in the GOP opposition party. Both Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, however, are unqulaified and completely out of touch with the real issues in my state. They have demonstrated their disdain for the political process by their poor voting records. Former Gov. Jerry Brown, of all the potential candidates, has a firm grasp of the issues, people and processes and will have my vote for Governor!

    September 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. trythinkingnyc

    See, the thing is that 90% of the people out there truly believe that this was a legitimate poll. These monkeys are actually lying straight in the faces of their own constituents and they believe them! All this business about how falling poll numbers for the president is pure, manufactured BULL. They call 10 people in rural republican areas and ask them loaded questions, scary questions. Six of them say "I don't believe he's American ", or some other nonsense – OF COURSE, THEY'RE RACISTS – and the next day you hear Bill O'Reilly talking about the "60% of Americans who disapprove". This is how coups happen, people!! This may as well be Haiti.

    September 28, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. steven harnack

    Surprise suprise, Republican politician lies and is immediately caught. Next step,denial,apology,denial, then a request for money to fight the liars.It's on page 3 of the republican campaign handbook.

    September 28, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Reformed Republican

    Just like the rethugs...Fear, smear, mock and of course – LIE!

    The Party of NO! is in really bad shape when they start lying about each other.

    Gotta love seeing them show their true colors once again and then proceed to eat their young in public...

    September 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. jaye

    These two knuckleheaded women are just another republican joke.

    September 28, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. single mom

    California is broken and bankrupt.
    I respect the accomplishments of both women but do not understand why, or anybody, would want to be the governor.
    The state is run by special interests – namely environmentalists and unions – and caters to either the very rich or the illegals.

    September 28, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Not Again

    One candidate acts out the neocon addage "the end justifies the means'" by falsely claiming his poll is the CRP poll. the 'end' of getting elected justifies the lie about the source of the poll .revealing, once again, that what comes out of the mouths and offices of these individuals is unreliable cannot be trusted.

    Democratic governor anyone?

    I'd vote for Jerry Brown.

    September 28, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Simmy

    Both don't equal one Dem......CA will not ebuy Whitman.....And Carly-fiorina is in a losing state of affairs....Turn off the lights.....Fold up the tents, ladies...Bye..

    September 28, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. BestProfitCompany = WAR

    Haas your out of touch. You are talking about California as if it were a real person. Did you forget to take your prescription? You must not know anything because even though the democrates hold a majority, we still have republicans in office in California. Now you want California to leave the union? WOW! You are dumb. The state has to agree to leave the union and not dumb naive people deciding that (especially from another state). And don't forget your beloved hero (American Taliban leader) Regan was from this state. He must be so proud of you!

    September 28, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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