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20 October 2010

California – Senate

Barbara Boxer (D) v Carly Fiorina (R)

By Rob Higson

In a tightly contested race, the three-term incumbent Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, is fighting the former Hewlett Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina.

In 2008, California proved a strong base for Barack Obama, giving him a 24-point win over John McCain. But the president’s popularity in California, as in a number of other states, has cooled considerably since then, and the Democrats are expected to lose part of the enormous 61 per cent share of the vote they received during the presidential election.

The polls are close, with only a few points between the candidates, both of them in the mid-40s, Boxer just edging it.

The campaign has grown increasingly personal of late: McCain, the former presidential candidate and Arizona senator, has suggested that Boxer is “the most bitterly partisan, most anti-defence senator in the United States Senate today. I know that because I’ve had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her.”

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With many eyes focused firmly on the contest in this traditionally socially liberal state, both sides have attracted big names to the campaign, including Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin and the president himself, due to campaign in California this week.

Previous race: Delaware – Senate

Next race: New York governorship