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« Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (39 Days) | Blog Home Page | Rasmussen: Parties Hold Seats In CA, OH and NY »

Are Whitman and Fiorina California Dreamin'?

Two wealthy California businesswomen took steps toward running for office this week. Neither is a newcomer to politics, exactly, but Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have never run for public office before.

Ms. Whitman, the billionaire former chief executive of eBay, formally announced her campaign Tuesday to replace outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The same day, Ms. Fiorina, a former Hewlett Packard CEO, launched her Senate campaign Web site as she aims to knock off Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, though Ms. Fiorina still hasn't officially announced her candidacy.

Both former CEOs are facing competitive primaries that both are currently favored to win. Ms. Whitman will have to beat out state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former Rep. Tom Campbell; Ms. Fiorina will likely face Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. Awaiting Ms. Whitman in the general election will be either Attorney General (and former Gov.) Jerry Brown or San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

In Orange County on Tuesday, Ms. Whitman said her goal was to create two million new jobs in the state by 2015, while cutting the state budget and trimming the state workforce by 40,000 employees. Both of her primary opponents criticized Ms. Whitman's lack of details; at the same time, Ms. Fiorina was criticized by Democrats for her Web site's lack of substance and odd messaging, including the tagline, "Carlyfornia Dreamin'."

Both women were outspoken supporters of John McCain's presidential campaign, which didn't perform well in the state. Barack Obama won by 24 points, after George W. Bush lost the state by 10 and 11 points in the previous two elections. Ms. Whitman brings considerable wealth to the table, but lacks the star power of the current governor. Ms. Fiorina has the added challenge of facing a three-term senator coming off a 20-point victory in 2004.