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« ID-1: Labrador Upsets Ward In GOP Primary | Blog Home Page | Nevada Republicans Split On Angle »

California Candidates Mobilizing For Senate, Gov Races

President Obama made his second trip to California on Barbara Boxer's behalf in as many months Tuesday, raising a total of $1.7 million for the senator's campaign and the DSCC at three stops in the Bay Area.

"I don't travel for just anybody," the president said at one of those events. "But when it comes to Barbara Boxer I'm a lot like you - when she calls and says she needs help, we're gonna give her some help."

Though she does not yet know who her Republican opponent will be, Boxer -- who also faces a primary challenge from liberal blogger Mickey Kaus -- knows this race will be one of her toughest yet. And given the cost of running a California campaign, particularly when one potential foe is capable of dipping into her personal fortune, Boxer is taking nothing for granted. Through the first quarter of 2010, she had nearly four times as much cash on hand as her potential foes.

"They have Sarah Palin," Boxer said, alluding to the former Alaska governor's endorsement of Carly Fiorina, but also the GOP as a whole. "We have the man I'm going to bring on stage right now. My friend, my pal. This is the second trip he's made for me."

Boxer's fate may prove to be indicative of just how deep the Democratic losses are in November. If she loses, Republicans are likely closing in on returning to parity in the Senate after being down 20 seats until this January. But if she wins, the GOP would have to run the table in every single other contest to even come close.

On the same day Boxer was motorcading around with Obama, her potential foes were duking it out in a radio debate. According to a Los Angeles Times account, Fiorina tried to focus on Boxer, criticizing Obama for political travel when he should be focusing on the Gulf Oil spill. But opponents Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore were picking the former HP exec's record -- or lack thereof, when it comes to voting -- apart instead.

"Maybe it makes Chuck DeVore, who's sort of dog-paddling at 14% in the polls -- maybe it makes him feel better to belittle other people's conservative credentials," Fiorina responded at one point.

Two polls out in recent days indeed show Fiorina with a comfortable lead two weeks away from the primary. She leads in the RCP Average by 5.0.

In another tough GOP battle, Meg Whitman's campaign is claiming the upper hand in the gubernatorial primary, despite a recent surge from rival Steve Poizner. On a conference call Tuesday, aides said that Poizner has "succeeded in being a negative surrogate for Jerry Brown and confusing some Republican voters." They released their own internal poll showing Whitman still the leader, by a margin of 53-27.

"[His negative ads] failed in providing a rationale for a Poizner candidacy and Meg, even throughout that period of tightening, one, was always ahead - and two had a reservoir of good feeling," adviser Mike Murphy said. "Voters are becoming unconfused as they take a second look at Steve Poizner they see the truth: a liberal Sacramento politician who will say just about anything to get elected."

Poizner's campaign wasn't backing down, though. His latest radio ad accuses Whitman of having the same position on immigration as Mexican President Calderon.