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.