Carly Fiorina Campaigns in Clovis

November 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The newest candidate to challenge Senator Barbara Boxer is launching a fierce attack and she took aim at the senator during a Central Valley stop Thursday.Taking the Democrat is a daunting challenge, but it's not the toughest battle Carly Fiorina has fought.

"You know, after chemotherapy, after going out with my hairdo like this, Barbara Boxer isn't really very scary to me anymore," said the former Hewlett Packard CEO.

Fiorina appealed to conservatives during a stop at Wawona Foods in Clovis Thursday, highlighting core values that appeal to a lot of Valley voters. "I believe life begins at conception," she said. "I believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. I'm a fiscal conservative."

ABC30 Political Analyst Tony Capozzi says Fiorina has some big advantages that should get her through the Republican primary against Assemblyman Chuck Devore and into next November's showdown. "She's a multi-millionaire," Capozzi said. "She's going to be able to spend her own money. I think her opponent won't be able to do that."

Challenging Sen. Boxer has ended badly for three Republicans now, including the Valley's own Bill Jones. When he lost in 2004, Boxer got more votes than any Senate candidate had ever gotten. Voters are familiar with her, but not with Fiorina.

Even supporters struggle with the basics like her name. Wawona Foods President Bill Smittcamp mispronounced her last name four times before introducing her.

A new Action News poll conducted by Survey USA shows 33% of California voters have a favorable opinion of Sen. Boxer. Just 11% have a favorable opinion of Fiorina, but that's at least in part because they don't know her. 65% had no opinion.

"Look, Barbara Boxer has been a senator for three terms," Fiorina said. "Of course the people of California know her. What the people of California don't seem to know is how little she's actually done."

Among other accusations, Fiorina says Boxer has only passed three bills in her 17 years in the Senate. Boxer is counterattacking, saying Fiorina doesn't understand how government works. She says she's passed more than 1,000 provisions into law. And she says Fiorina was a failure as CEO of Hewlett Packard, where the board pushed her out in 2005.

Capozzi predicts a very negative campaign has just begun. With 12 months to go until the election, the battle could get fierce and Fiorina believes beating cancer is just her first big win.

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