Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has dodged the Republican tide, defeating former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
With 13% of precincts reporting, Boxer leads by 49%-45%, and has been projected as the winner by NBC News and the Los Angeles Times.
The three-term Democrat Boxer has suffered from lackluster ratings, with the TPM Poll Average giving her an approval of only 43.1% to a disapproval of 48.7%, and has often faced tough races. Republicans had high hopes for former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who brought several million dollars of her own money into the race and potential appeal to women voters.
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But Fiorina never quite caught on with voters. Boxer has managed to stay ahead in the polls, in part by waging an economic populist and nationalist campaign against Fiorina, the former CEO of a multinational corporation that manufactures products in other countries. As a result, the TPM Poll Average of Fiorina’s approval-disapproval numbers stand at 41.4%-47.9%.
Here’s an example of one of Boxer’s economic populist ads:
And here’s one of Fiorina’s ads from late in the race, depicting California as a Steinbeckian dust bowl, for which Boxer was supposedly to blame:
Perhaps the ad was too melodramatic to help Fiorina gain any late traction.
This was Fiorina’s first bid for public office. Before this, she was best known in politics for an awkward moment when she was a surrogate for the John McCain campaign in 2008. During a radio interview, she committed an infamous gaffe when asked whether Sarah Palin had the experience to run a major company like HP. “No, I don’t,” responded Fiorina. “But you know what? That’s not what she’s running for.” She then made an amusing attempt at damage control, saying that John McCain couldn’t run a major corporate either — and neither could Barack Obama or Joe Biden. But, she said, they were all running for national office and not for CEO. She was then absent from the campaign trail for a few weeks.
Will she ever be back on the trail again?