Washington Post staff writer
Wednesday, June 9, 2010; A08
NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. -- Washington feels very far away from this upscale Orange County community, where voters in Tuesday's Republican primaries expressed greater concern about the state economy than the national issues that have motivated voters elsewhere.
California faces a nearly $20 billion budget gap. On top of that, Republicans here say the tax and regulatory environment has grown so burdensome that companies are fleeing the state.
Given that backdrop, several candidates in the Republican primaries for U.S. Senate and governor emphasized their business backgrounds.
Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman defeated Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, also a former technology executive, in the gubernatorial primary, while former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina won the Senate primary.
John Packer, 56, a real estate investor who has lived in California for 30 years, said he is one of those thinking of leaving for a state with a friendlier business atmosphere. He cast his ballot for Whitman, but he did so with little enthusiasm. "I really don't have a lot of confidence anybody can fix this," he said. "I'm worried Meg Whitman is too liberal and it will be like [Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger all over again."
-- Sandhya Somashekhar