June 10th, 2010
03:06 PM ET
11 years ago

California Candidates Quickly Move To Seize Momentum

(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

Filed under: 2010 • California • Carly Fiorina • Meg Whitman
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Bob of Lompoc

    Fiorina, who while CEO and Chairman of Hewlett Packard closed down the jobs of 30,000 people, AND, saaw the Stock Price of H-P go freom $52 in 1999 when she was hired, to $21 in 2005 when she was fired. She wants to be a U. S. Senator? She should move to South Carolina. She is quailfied there.

    June 10, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Johnny DC

    So Fiorina laid off workers - that exactly what you want from a leader. It's called doing what's right for the organization you represent.

    I would hope that as a leading politician for Californians, she'd be able to make tough votes that benefit the people who put her there.

    Of course, if Boxer was a CEO, she'd continue to spend spend spend spend spend and run the company in the ground before she made any strategic sacrificial moves.

    Typical Liberal of 2010.

    June 10, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Guess what people of California Whitman and Fiorina are running against Democrat veterans which means they embrace all Republican veterans and their policies, they said it, not me, read it yourself. Good luck California, these two will further sink California without the help of an earthquake.

    June 10, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. CA Indie for Obama

    Just sayin'...
    Read the history of Fiorina on Wikipedia...says it all...
    Hewlett Packard...spying...$52/share when hired; $21 when canned; competitor Dell rose almost 20% during her tenure.

    Does CA or any state need anyone like that? background is similar to w, and look where the nation and economy was when he took office and when he left.

    June 10, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Libertarian

    Dear God...like California couldn't have it any worse and now these two. When I hear candidates spewing about "creating jobs" they automatically lose my vote. The only jobs ever created by a politician are their own staff.

    June 10, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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