Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina are vying for the junior U.S. Senator seat in California in the 2010 election. The polls are tight, although the percentage for error and the percentage of undecided voters (10 percent, according to Rasmussen Reports) could translate to different story on election day.
Candidate: Barbara Boxer (incumbent)
Political experience: Boxer is the chief deputy whip of the Democratic majority. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1993, Boxer took over the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Alan Cranston. Boxer has been re-elected twice, in 1998 and in 2004. Prior to holding a seat in the U.S. Senate, Boxer represented California’s 6th District as a U.S. Representative from 1983 to 1992. Prior positions in politics include being the president and a member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors from 1977 to 1983, according to Project VoteSmart.
According to the Boxer’s U.S. Senate website, she is the chairperson for the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues.
Boxer is also a member of these subcommittees: Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security; Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance; Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard; Science and Space; Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine; Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; East Asian and Pacific Affairs; International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection; and the subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs.
Boxer served as a congressional aide from 1974 to 1976.
Professional experience: Prior to government work, Boxer was an associate editor and journalist for the Pacific Sun newspaper from 1972 to 1974. Her professional experience also included a stint as an economic researcher and stockbroker for a Wall Street Securities firm form 1962 to 1965, according to Project Vote Smart.
Key issues: Boxer is a strong environmental proponent and helped secure the Water Resources Development Act and she sponsored the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which “designated over 273,000 acres in California as wilderness,” according to her website.
Boxer also supports affordable health care for children and she cosponsored the law that created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). She recently sponsored a bill to promote both children’s nutritional health as well as another of her key issues, local agriculture, with a bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.
Endorsements: Boxer is supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, NBA Legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the California Rice Industry Association, the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers,NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, United Farm Workers of America (UFW), Sierra Club and the California Professional Firefighters, according to her website.
Boxer has raised $18,884,745, as of late August, according to OpenSecrets.org, with 75 percent from individuals, 11 percent from PACs and 15 percent from other sources.
Chances of maintaining her seat: Boxer has comfortably held her Senate seat and a lead through most of the summer, although the current anti-incumbent climate could work against her, according to Rasmussen Reports. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Boxer leads by +5 and Public Policy Polling has her at +9.
Candidate: Carly Fiorina
Political experience: Fiorina served as a top economic advisor to Republican John McCain during his bid for the U.S. presidency in 2008. She was also a member of the Defense Business Board and the Advisory Group for Transformational Diplomacy for the Department of State, according to her website.
Professional experience: Currently she chairs the Board of the Technology Policy Institute and she is a trustee of MIT. Fiorina was the former CEO and chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard, from 1999 to 2005. Previously she worked for AT&T and Lucent Technologies for more than 20 years.
Key issues: Key issues for Carly Fiorina include reducing the deficit, securing the borders and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, according to her website. She is also in favor of making the “Bush tax cuts,” which expire on Jan. 2, 2011, permanent according to the Sacramento Bee.
Endorsements: Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorse Fiorina. Fiorina is also endorsed by the California Farm Bureau, the National Right To Life Committee, the California Pro Life Council, Hispanic 100, Taxpayer’s League, the Liberty Fund and the Associated Builders and Contractors of California.
Fiorina has raised $10,606,006, as of late August, according to OpenSecrets.org. Fiorina, unlike Boxer who has contributed zero percent of her own money, has contributed 52 percent of her own funding. Another 42 percent is from individuals, 4 percent from PACs and 2 percent from other sources.
Chances of unseating Boxer: No Republican has won a Senate seat in a California general election since 1988, which stacks the historic odds against Fiorina. Yet, the anti-incumbent sentiment could work in her favor. According to SurveyUSA, Fiorina has gained over Boxer, to 47 percent, with Boxer at 42 percent. SurveyUSA also attributes a strong showing by Fiorina to her support from voters in California’s Inland Empire and the Central Valley.
Key Differences Between Barbara Boxer and Carly
Boxer and Fiorina oppose each other on a number of hot-button political issues, including abortion and gay marriage. Boxer is pro-choice and Fiorina is pro-life, according to their respective websites. Boxer opposed Proposition 8 and believes in “equality in marriage” and Fiorina supported Proposition 8 and “believes marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Both Senate candidates say they support the creation of jobs and support small businesses, although their approaches differ. Fiorina supports tax cuts and fewer regulations for small businesses. Boxer co-introduced the Home Office Deduction Simplification Act of 2009 and helped write the Bank On Our Communities Act of 2009 that encourages banks to lend money to small businesses.
2004 results: Boxer beat Republican challenger Bill Jones, a former California secretary of state, with 58 percent of the vote.
California demographics: According to the U.S. Census, the residents of California fall into these groups: Non-Hispanic white: 41.7 percent, Hispanic: 37 percent, Asian: 12.7 percent, black: 6.6 percent, American Indian: 1.2 percent, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.4 percent.