After my posts about Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, a couple people asked me to share my thoughts about the Senate race. On Nov. 2, voters will choose to either send Senator Barbara Boxer back to Washington or let former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina help the Republicans take control of the Senate.
I initially was not going to write about this contest because, in my view, this is the most straight-forward race. The criteria I usually use to evaluate candidates (leadership skills, character, economic & social policies, etc…) factored little in my decision on who to vote for. In this Senate race, it came down to pure partisanship: do I want to vote for the Democrat to help President Obama advance his legislative agenda or do I want to vote for the Republican nominee to slow Obama down?
Unlike Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina has a reputation as a failed executive. She was unpopular while she was the CEO of HP, and current employees at HP have been giving a majority of their campaign donations to her opponent. I was recently convinced that Fiorina’s reputation as a poor executive is undeserved. She shook things up at HP and while the employees didn’t appreciate it, she made some important changes (as well as mistakes) within the company.
Whether or not she was a good CEO at HP matters little to me, however. If Meg Whitman pulls an upset and becomes the next Governor, her business experience may be beneficial as the chief executive of California. I doubt Fiorina’s executive experience will be useful as a junior Senator. Being an effective Senator is quite different from being a successful businesswoman. Successful Senators are always building strong relationships, compromising, and making change at the margins. It’s a far cry from the business world where executives can give directives that will be executed by underlings. In this race, I’m voting for whoever will cast their votes in the Senate closest to how I would vote.
I’m voting for Barbara Boxer because I want President Obama to get every vote he can in the Senate. I’m not a huge fan of Barbara Boxer. She’s been there since 1993 and I’m not excited about sending her back for 6 more years. I’ve always preferred the Senior Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein. But I can rely on Boxer to vote with the Democrats in the Senate, which I believe needs a few more liberals (unlike the California legislature which I’d prefer to see housing more conservatives).
Just a snippet of their stances:
Boxer is pro-gay marriage, favors repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, pro-choice, pro-union, and all the other things you associate with a liberal Democrat. The “ma’am” scandal has painted her as out of touch and arrogant, and she did a poor job shepherding the climate change bill through her Senate Committee (responsibility was shifted to John Kerry).
Fiorina wants to repeal ObamaCare, supports off-shore drilling, is pro-life, is strongly pro-gun, and opposes taking action on climate change (technically she thinks we should take action once unemployment in CA drops below 5.5%, but that is a long way off). She is focusing her campaign on fiscal restraint and fixing the economy.
The Chamber of Commerce would really like to see Fiorina pull this one off. They’ve pumped $4.9 million into her campaign, more than any other campaign (The Florida Senate race takes second place with $2 million spent by the Chamber). According to 538, Boxer is up 5% at the moment, giving her a 93% chance of retaining her seat. Looks like Boxer isn’t going anywhere for awhile.
Who are you voting for and why?