A Get-Well-Soon Present for Carly

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

It is too early to tell whether or how Carly Fiorina’s hospitalization will affect the California Senate race, but this story in the San Francisco Chronicle should be good medicine for her:

The Republican woman who has the best chance to win in California on Nov. 2 is not billionaire Meg Whitman, who has spent more than $140 million of her own money to make sure every living thing knows who she is. It’s Carly Fiorina, another former Silicon Valley CEO with thinner pockets but a looser campaign style who has drawn incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer into a dead heat.

Why is Fiorina running stronger than Whitman at this point?  At National Journal, Ronald Brownstein explains:

 “It’s the Washington dynamic versus the Sacramento dynamic,” said a senior Democratic strategist working in the state, who asked for anonymity while discussing the vulnerabilities of the party’s contenders. “Which is to say you’ve got a Democratic president, Democratic Congress and Democratic senator who get blamed, if you will, at the federal level while you have a…Republican governor in Sacramento [Arnold Schwarzenegger] who is extraordinarily unpopular and that hurts Whitman. Boxer gets hurt by the national scene; Whitman gets hurt by the local scene.”

John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College.