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

Whitman, Fiorina reject California GOP 'straw poll'

Meg Whitman, left, and Carly Fiorina lost in a straw poll conducted by rivals at the California GOP convention.

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. diridi

    california, if you have any head...do not vote any Republicans...George Bush messed the nation, and Arnold Swatezenager messed the state...in fact these two idiots looted the nation and state respectively...ok...use head...vote for any dog except Republican idiots...you know how they are taking bribes to stop health care reform with public option....stop it...totally and completely....

    September 28, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. chelle

    Dutch, it's happening because they don't see it as failure – just business as usual. Screw things up and make millions of dollars – they don't see the failure...the layoffs etc are just details to them. The fact that the details are real people with mortages, children etc means NOTHING to these people. I am sure there are good CEOs out there – maybe some of them should speak out against this culture of corporate greed and rewarding mediocrity!!!

    September 28, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. StevG

    Republicans pragging about a pole that no one took, proves my point

    Rule Number Three Of The Republican Party.

    Tell The Lie, Until They Believe The Lie.

    September 28, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. John Janski

    That is the problem in CA – it is a Blue state. Wise up out there in CA. Put another liberal Dem in Sacramento and you can flush the state down the toilet.

    September 28, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. rr

    if this poll is a sham, why are the democrats referencing it?

    It is a sham, but the democrats are trying to legitimize it.

    California needs professional politicians and liberal spenders like Arnold Schwarzenegger. CA doesn't need any business people. You can't run a state like CA like a business. It has to be run like a charity with bottomless pockets.

    September 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Doug, New Jersey

    Any elected republican governor will have their hands tied by the hateful lib socialists who dominate the state legislature in this horrible state. I hope they just elect all lib so that everyone can see the outcome of corrupt hateful self serving Democrats running free with unchecked power. The libs who think Bush and the republicans were bad are like a cop with a radar who pulls over the guy going 55 in a 50 but totally ignores the next guy going 100. Americans will see the truth at the federal level with Obama and the state level with an all curupt lib Cal-lib-fornia. There is not enough money in the world for them to pay off their cronies, their union thugs, and their entitlement class me me me voters.

    September 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Jackie in Dallas

    And so it goes...the GOP eating their young again. Why should the Democrats worry? The various GOP candidates will knock each other out of the running, and the survivor will still have a huge weight of negative campaigning to overcome.

    Now, all we have to do is prevent the Democrats from following suit...

    September 28, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. I'MTXGOP&YOU'RENOT...

    Great. Looks like the California GOP is bent on shooting itself in the foot again. To my Republican friends in CA: You live in a very liberal state, nowadays. So if you actually want to WIN GENERAL ELECTIONS, then you need to start by nominating electble candidates. This means picking attractive candidates with serious accomplishments to their credit and broad name recognition. Ebay? Hewlet-Packard? I can't think of anyone better than these two ladies...they're also better looking than Jerry Brown, too 🙂

    September 28, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. joel palmer

    I love it when the gop has their circular firing squad; Fiorina and Whitman are the poster kids for corporate greed and excess; put em right up front and run em for the top spots; let's see how that plays out with a state with a very large minority voting element. They may as well sit on a live grenade.

    Brand new circus; same old clowns

    September 28, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Donald, Eugene

    Two comments. First, "pragmatic" labels the touting of the poll "another republican set of lies." Those touting the poll, however, were members of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Furthermore, labeling the results of a primary election poll another REPUBLICAN set of lies misses the point: the poll was an attempt by one Republican candidate to gain advantage over another, not a conspiratorial attempt by Republicans to create an image of their party being in disarray. Second, Leanne would be well-advised to recognize that the Republicans have been successful in California statewide elections. Republican Pete Wilson occupied the Governor's mansion before Gray Davis' short stay in office began on January 4, 1999. Republican gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner is a fairly popular figure in California politics, and won his 2006 statewide race for Insurance Commissioner against former Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante by a 12.4 percent margin.

    September 28, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Liz HB

    As a native Californian, the thought of either of these two as Governor makes me cringe! They are definitely NOT what we Californians are made of!

    September 28, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. GOPer

    Drama. Who needs it during these challenging times?

    Unscientific straw polls are biased and unofficial by definition.

    September 28, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Moderate Democrat

    We've had a republican at the head of our state for about 8 years, hasn't turned out well.

    The last thing we need is another republican (anywhere in any office in any state). Facts are facts: Republicans suck.

    Dogs bark, cat's meow, women have innies, boys have outties and republicans have no brain. These are simply fact. We call it evolution. As humanity becomes more intelligent, republican numbers shrink. We've got it down 30%, hopefully we will see the extinction of this evil and cancerous species we call republicans.

    September 28, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Peter

    Failed CEO's if you can't manage a company how can you manage a State?. I won't rule you out yet! until I see the democratic candidate. The worst thing the democrates can do is try to flout someone from the far left!. Most Californian love moral and family values!!. Find a moderate democrate and he/she will carry California for the democrates

    September 28, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Liberal4Obama

    I think if Meg Whitman should pick up "VOTING 4 DUMMIES" before running for office,a as fas as Fiorina goes, well she wrecked HP... she has never been good at anything.

    September 28, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Canadian

    So these failed execs with big mouths and even bigger egos, must think once they have savaged the private sector, they can sink their vampire teeth and drain the life out of the taxpayers. Say no, to these opportunistic parasites.

    September 28, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. NewOne

    So the DSCC is spreading information without fact checking the source? WHAT ELSE IS NEW? They haven't run an honest ad in decades. Lying libtards!

    September 28, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Bob, Lyons Oregon,

    Well, hopefully California Voters are smarter than Whitman and Fiorina are, which I am sure they are. Why would anyone vote for 2 failed CEO's. Fiorina Ran HP into the ground, and did nothing for the people who worked for her, other then dismiss them and lay them off. If you want CA to fail more then they have under Arnold, then vote for one of these two. They will run your State into the ground. If you think CA is bad now, then put one of these 2 idiots in as your governor. I think CA residents are smarter then this, and will vote for a Democrat anyway. Like someone else said, Arnold only got in because he is an actor, and his wife is a democrat, so they let him slide in, but with all the problems in CA, I don't think this will happen again. I know someone who worked at HP during the time Fiorina was CEO and he said she made a mess of HP. Both are very Greedy, and only care about themselves and thier Rich cohorts.

    September 28, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Tom Paine

    Lets see...Republicans lying. That's a shocking revelation! The basis of the Republican message since St. Ronnie has been based on lies and deceit. The question that needs to be asked.......why are so many people falling for it? Could there be an association between the Republican lead destruction of the educational system and gullibility factor?

    September 28, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Brian Dodge

    It's comforting to see that Republicans will use lies and deception to eat their own. If they use these vile tactics on each other, how low will they go in the general election, and how many will be fooled into voting for these loony losers? Remember "WMD's" "palling around with terrorists" "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" "I hope Obama fails" "death panels" and all the other steaming pile of lies told by the right wing dittoheads!

    September 28, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Emma

    As a Californian, I will not vote for a GOP candidate in the next gubernatorial election.

    September 28, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Jetty

    Just go tell Baucus to pass a Healthcare Reform that include Public Option Plan

    September 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Edmund

    Half the convention delegates? The party has about 1500 members and this 'straw poll' had 150 votes. Nice to see Devore's continuing to be honest about all this

    September 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. RTB

    Please give us a break. These two losers are a disgrace to the country and a bad joke for the democratic process.

    September 28, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. Sue

    Any Republican candidate would be better than any Democrat candidate. That is the only hope to pull California out of bankruptcy. We need someone to make the hard decisions Democrats are not capable of making. Enough Tax and spend, businesses are leaving California. The rest of the country needs to learn from Californias mistakes. Too many entitlement programs and they can't raise our taxes high enough or fast enough to pay for them all.

    September 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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