Fiorina Enters California Senate Race

Posted November 4, 2009 at 11:38am

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R) declared her intentions to run for Senate in California in a Wednesday morning opinion piece in the Orange County Register.

Fiorina, who has been exploring a 2010 campaign against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) for months, is expected to announce her candidacy in person at an Orange County event at 1 p.m. EST.

In her opinion piece, Fiorina wrote that she has “not always been engaged in the electoral process,— but, through her business career, began to understand the impact of government. “I now understand, in a very real way, that the decisions made by the Senate impact every family and every business, of any size, in America,— she wrote.

Fiorina said her top priorities in the Senate will be “economic recovery and fiscal accountability.— And she staked out her opposition to Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul. But in an echo of President Barack Obama, who won California with 61 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential race, Fiorina concluded, “I believe big change is not impossible, but it does require leadership, innovative thinking, teamwork and tackling the most obvious and pressing problems first.—

National Republicans think Fiorina could mount a serious challenge to Boxer, a third-term incumbent whose aggressive brand of liberal politics has made her the more vulnerable of the Golden State’s two Democratic Senators. As the one-time CEO of a high-profile tech company. Fiorina has the name identification and capacity to self-fund that could make it a real contest. But she also has baggage stemming from her ouster from Hewlett-Packard in 2005.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was quick to highlight that fact on Wednesday.

“The hallmark of Carly Fiorina’s resume is her tenure at Hewlett-Packard where she laid-off 28,000 Americans while shipping jobs overseas — just before taking a $21 million golden parachute,— DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. “Given that record, the United States Senate is the last place Carly Fiorina should go next. Fiorina’s political debut has generated serious questions over her nonexistent voting record, an atrocious tenure at Hewlett-Packard, sidestepping of a trade ban with Iran, and a failure to register her foundation with the IRS.—

Fiorina has to first dispatch a primary challenge from state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who is running to the right of her politically. The DeVore campaign is touting an endorsement from outspoken conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and the Senate Conservative Fund political action committee, which he heads. DeMint already endorsed Marco Rubio, a conservative former state Speaker who is taking on centrist Gov. Charlie Crist in the Florida Senate GOP primary.

In a press release, the DeVore campaign said it “welcomes Fiorina’s candidacy as part of the great pageant of American democracy — and we eagerly anticipate making the case for a principled, Constitutional, and engaged conservatism.—