The California Primary Election for 2010 focuses on two newcomers to politics, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, both obviously women, both businesswomen with plenty of spare cash to spend on getting elected.
Both Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina will run against a familiar figure in California politics. Whitman will contest the governorship of California with Jerry Brown, who once was the youngest California Governor in history in the mid 1970s, and is now seeking to become perhaps the oldest. Fiorina is running for the Senate against Barbara Boxer, a three term United States Senator.
Meg Whitman is running for California Governor as a Republican. Ordinarily this would be a liability as the current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is nominally a Republican, has presided over an economic meltdown in California, and has a popularity rating in the high twenties. But Whitman, as a former CEO of Ebay, can bring an outsider’s cache to the governorship, with a dash of business sense that perhaps California is in great need of.
Jerry Brown, who has also been Mayor of Oakland and California Attorney General, will likely have to struggle against his “Governor Moonbeam” reputation earned by numerous flights of fancy while he was last ensconced in Sacramento. He is an old, establishment politician in an era when that is a liability.
Carly Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewitt Packard and is endorsed by Sarah Palin, perhaps a mixed blessing in blue state California. Like Meg Whitman, she brings an outsider, business perspective to politics that might serve her in good stead.
Fiorina’s opponent, Barbara Boxer, is on the far left even by the standards of tolerant California. Senator Boxer’s poll ratings are in decline and she suffers from being an incumbent and a Democrat in an anti incumbent anti Democrat election year. On the other hand, Boxer has proven to be a vicious, energetic campaigner, capable of the low blow and the sucker punch to put away an opponent. On the other hand, Fiorina has lots of cash with which to respond and to do a little attacking on her own.
Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are expected to win their primary races. Both women are polling very well against their opponents. If they win, both Whitman and Fiorina will represent a new wave of center right politician, without a lot of political experience, but also without a lot of experience in public policy failure. By virtue of the size of California, both Whitman and Fiorina will become national political figures with the possibility of higher office in time. The Republicans have not taken California in a Presidential election for decades. With either a Governor Whitman or a Senator Fiorina on the ticket, they might have a chance to break that loosing streak.
Sources: Meg Whitman Can Run a Company, But Can She Govern?, Debra Saunders, Real Clear Politics, March 11, 2010
Carly Fiorina Announces United States Senate Run, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, November 4th, 2010