Whitman, Fiorina Win In California But November Prospects Look Bleak

It was a big night for Republican women in California last night, but the celebration may be short-lived:

California Republicans reached for history in Tuesday’s primary elections, as Meg Whitman claimed the party’s nomination for governor and Carly Fiorina won the GOP race for the U.S. Senate, results that gave women the Republican nominations for the two most powerful statewide political offices for the first time.

The two wealthy businesswomen, who powered their first electoral bids with millions of dollars of their own money, swept into election day as the front-runners and rode the momentum of an angry electorate that spurned the appeals of veteran politicians competing against them on the ballot.

Neither one touted her gender overtly on the campaign trail, but Whitman embraced it Tuesday night as she greeted supporters near Universal Studios.

“Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., be warned — you now face your worst nightmare; two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done!” she said, after congratulating Fiorina.

The celebration could be short-lived, however. Whitman trials her Democratic opponent, former Governor and Attorney General Jerry Brown, and Fiorna is behind Barbara Boxer in the Senate race. If they win, it could go a long way toward making California a competitive state again for the first time since the 1980s, but Republicans shouldn’t hold out too much hope.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Doug, I hate to burst you bubble but did you count the vote totals?  Jerry got less than the republicans got.  Same with Boxer.  I am sure both Moonbeam and Maaaaam are just pleased to have to run against opposition with nearly unlimited funds.  Unless the dems can motivate a much larger turnout, which is doubtful in these economic conditions.  Your analysis will be in the dumper.

  2. tylerh says:

    Perhaps you posted before LA County came in? LA county is the largest county in the state — by far — and always reports last.  With 100% of the precincts reporting, the SOS website shows:

    Democratic Primary votes:  1.76 million
    Republican Primary voters: 1.69 million

    Brown 1,478,752
    Whitman 1,101,528

    Boxer  1,426,923
    Fiorina 952,072

    But it’s worse for the GOP than it looks.  The GOP contest sported two barn-burning top ticket races that no Californian could escape due to over $100 million dollars in advertising.  The Dem contest was snoozeville, with modest ( by California standards) budgets.  And yet the Dems still got more folks to the polls.

    and it gets worse. Much of the money was spent to push the winning candidates much further to the right — much too far to the right in Carly’s case.
    As we’ve proven through a cycle of  three  initiatives on “parental notification”,  Pro-Life is a losing proposition in state-wide california  races.  Thus, Carly tried hard to keep her Pro-life views out of the spotlight.  But she couldn’t.  She had to spend millions loudly trumpeting her pro-life credentials — and Sarah Palin endorsement —  to fend  off Chuck Devore.  So on that single issue alone, Boxer can beat Carly by at least 4 points.

    California uses a closed primary system.  Over $150 million was spent on the competitive republican primary, while only a tiny fraction was spent in the Dem side, where there were few competitive races. so OF COURSE the Republicans gathered more votes.  Do you