Election 2010: Fiorina, Whitman try to head off Democratic victory

The Washington Post takes a look back at some of the more memorable moments from the 2010 campaigns.
By Jason Horowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 2, 2010; 5:49 PM

IRVINE, CALIF. - During the last campaign stop of her race for the U.S. Senate, Republican Carly Fiorina said her opponent, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, is relying on a familiar campaign stategy.

"Barbara Boxer has run the same kind of campaign every time," Fiorina said during a brief interview Tuesday. "All she knows to do is attack her opponent because she cannot run on her own record."

For the last three elections for the Senate, Boxer's campaign strategy, whatever it may be, has worked. And on Election Day, as Fiorina visited a campaign headquarters in a sunny Irvine strip mall and encouraged volunteers working phone banks to keep going, polls indicated Boxer's campaign strategy might be working again.

Boxer and the state's Democrats consistently argued that Fiorina, and her fellow former Silicon Valley executive, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, were spending millions in an effort to buy the election. That criticism has proven especially resonant against Whitman, who has spent more than $140 million of her money on her race against Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown, a former governor. But Democrats did their best to lump the two executives together.

At the Irvine event, Fiorina, wearing a purple jacket, black pencil skirt and heels, visited volunteers hovering over desks and dialing on phones with smart digital interfaces. Signs in the small headquarters read "Carly for Ca.com" "Failed Senator.com" and "Don't tell Boxer What's After a Trillion." Volunteers wore "Fire Pelosi" stickers.

Fiorina addressed them and told them all the things candidates say at the end of campaigns -- keep working, thank you and onwards towards victory. Her campaign pointed to the more than 3.5 million absentee ballots that had been counted as of yesterday. Things were tighter than they seemed. Just watch.

"We have seen the way absentee ballots are breaking in terms of registration and we are very encouraged," Fiorina said in the interview. "Republicans are making a very, very, very strong showing, Democrats not so much."

Fiorina stepped outside where television cameras and a horseshoe of cheering supporters awaited. One older man screamed, "Woo-hoo! Victory!" Fiorina shook their hands, saying "Thank you so much. Thank you guys all of you. Thank you for all your hard work. Keep dialing, keep dialing."

Then she climbed into a Ford Expedition and drove out of the parking lot. A big red sign at the exit read, "Thank you for shopping."

On Monday, as Brown and Boxer completed an Election Day eve campaign sweep to prevent a Republican wave from washing over the western shores of California, they took turns urging supporters to get out the vote at a rally in front of the landmark Los Angeles Central Public Library.

And it was one of the few rallies in the country where Democrats were feeling bullish.

"I'm very happy," said Lenore Wax, 77, as she left the rally. Wearing oversized sunglasses, a green cap and a Jerry Brown shirt and pin, she said that she had been making calls for the Democrats from her home and that she had only reached one person on her call lists opposed to Boxer. "It's a Democratic call list," she allowed.

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