Fiorina Debuts New Ads, Argues Electability

Posted May 7, 2010 at 4:44pm

Carly Fiorina’s newest television ads, unveiled Friday, are part of a strategy to portray the former Hewlett-Packard CEO as the best Republican to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in the fall.

A pair of ads Fiorina’s campaign will begin airing Sunday ignore her opponents in the June 8 primary, former Rep. Tom Campbell and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. They focus on Boxer, accusing the incumbent of “bitter partisanship” in one spot and promoting business-killing “big government” in the other.

Fiorina campaign manager Marty Wilson said that focus groups of Republican voters show they are motivated by “an extreme dislike of Barbara Boxer” and that “there’s a real hunger for somebody who will have a legitimate shot” at beating the Senator, who’s running for a fourth term.

“We have a message, and that’s Carly is the conservative who can beat Barbara Boxer. And I think that’s what Republicans want to hear,” Wilson told reporters in a conference call Friday.

Asked about the size of the ad buy, Fiorina’s advisers would only say that it is “significant” and that the spots will appear on broadcast and cable stations. They declined to say if Fiorina would give more to her campaign beyond the $2.5 million she has already invested.

“We anticipate having the resources that we need to stay on the air between now and the election,” Wilson said.

Fiorina’s campaign also promoted an endorsement Friday from Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). His endorsement came on the heels of one from 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, whose backing Wilson said Fiorina’s campaign will embrace even in a general election in Democratic-leaning California.

“I’d much rather have Sarah Palin than Nancy Pelosi,” Wilson said.

Campbell campaign spokeswoman Erin Daly said that “there is not a single poll” that says Fiorina would be the strongest Republican candidate against Boxer.

“I know that Carly continues to say that, but unfortunately, there’s no credibility behind that,” she said.

Daly added that Campbell had a fiscally conservative record in the House, and his less conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage would deprive Boxer of an opportunity to exploit differences with her opponent on social issues, as she has done in previous campaigns.

Campbell, who leads in GOP primary polls, also is airing television ads that focus on his differences with Boxer.

DeVore campaign spokesman Josh Trevino said that the Fiorina campaign’s contention that she is the best candidate to oppose Boxer is “the latest skirmish in her lifelong battle with facts and data.”

Trevino said that the difference between DeVore and Fiorina “is the difference between the real and the fake” and that the two candidates are essentially in a tie for second place in the primary.