Fiorina Poses Strong Threat to Boxer’s Hold on California Senate Seat

Barbara Boxer (D) and Carly Fiorina (R)
Barbara Boxer (D) and Carly Fiorina (R)

Published September 14, 2010.
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A new September 27 Los Angeles Times poll gave incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer 51%, an eight point lead over Republican Carly Fiorina’s 43% of the vote. There was a 3.3-point margin of error. The results mirror a September 20 poll by Public Policy Polling showing Boxer leading with 50% over Fiorina’s 42% with a 4-point margin of error.


Barbara Boxer
Party: Democratic
Age: 69
Religion: Jewish

Brooklyn-born incumbent Boxer was born to Jewish immigrants. She worked as a stockbroker and newspaper editor before entering politics as a congressional aide in 1974. She was elected to the Senate in 1992 after serving for 10 years at the House.

Carly Fiorina
Party: Republican
Age: 55
Religion: Christian

Fiorina is best known for serving as senior vice president at AT&T and then as chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005, when the company merged with rival Compaq. She was forced to resign in 2005. In 2008, Fiorina served as a top economic advisor to John McCain.



Boxer has close ties to Israel groups, and circulated an AIPAC-sanctioned pro-Israel letter among senators that criticized Palestinian leaders in April 2010. By August 22, Boxer had raised $15,000 from pro-Israel groups.

Fiorina visited Israel in September 2010 on a trip sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition. There, she met with Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Knesset Member and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. “Israel is a strategic and important and unique ally,” she said in an interview. She praised the direct talks.


Boxer voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as terrorists and for sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program. She co-sponsored legislation expanding Obama’s authority to impose sanctions on foreign firms that export gasoline to Iran.

Fiorina says she supports stronger sanctions against Iran, to prevent that country from developing a nuclear weapon.


Boxer voted against invading Iraq in 2002, and in 2005, co-sponsored a Senate resolution that called for a withdrawal time frame. She has spoken out against the Afghanistan troop surge, expressing concerns that there is no exit strategy.

Fiorina believes that troops in Afghanistan should “stay until our job is done.”

Counter-terrorism and Civil Liberties

Boxer voted to close the facility for alleged terrorists at Guantanamo and to transfer them to the U.S. She spoke out against a bill that proposed as a solution to warrantless wiretapping the indemnification of telecomm companies who were spied upon.

Fiorina opposes closing Guantanamo and trying foreign terrorists in civilian court.

Health Care and Social Security

Boxer supported the health-care reform bill, as well as the public option. She also supports strengthening Medicare. She cosponsored the Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act to allow a tax deduction for the costs of long-term care insurance premiums. Boxer introduced a law that would protect pensions by requiring 401(k) diversification. She supports the current Social Security system and spoke out against its partial privatization.

Fiorina has called for a repeal of the recent health-care legislation, calling it a patchwork of insider deals. She supports more of a free-market model that encourages decision-making among doctors and families. She has advocated for lower-cost reforms.

Abortion Rights

Boxer’s political reputation has long been staked on protecting a woman’s right to abortion in early stages of pregnancy. She supports a ban on late-term abortion as long as there is an exemption when a woman’s life and health is in danger.

At a September 1 debate, Fiorina said she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade “if there were an opportunity,” but added that it’s not a key campaign issue. She believes life starts at conception. She also supports federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research as long as no embryos are created and destroyed solely for research purposes.

Gay Marriage

Fiorina says she opposes gay marriage, but supports civil unions and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” She thinks marriage “is between a man and a woman,” but said law should follow citizens’ votes on the issue.

Boxer is a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, and favors the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and other limiting measures.

Islamic Center

Both Boxer and Fiorina agree that the location of the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero is best left up to New Yorkers.

The Campaign

Barbara Boxer (D)

Last Report: June 30, 2010

Carly Fiorina (R)

Last Report: June 30, 2010

Fiorina was condemned for HP’s sale of printer ink in Iran while she was the firm’s CEO. She defended herself, saying she was in full compliance with sanction laws–and that all other companies do it.


The Jewish Virtual Library estimates that there are 1,194,190 Jews out of 36,132,147 Californians, making the state 3.3% Jewish. According to the Almanac of American Politics, the Jewish vote “will not be a major factor in the large majority of seriously contested Senate and House races.” However, what is important for Democrats is that Jewish voter turnout continues at relatively high levels—particularly in the more hotly contested districts—where a little extra targeted campaigning might make a big difference.

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