Cruising the Valley With the (Likely) Winners

If the polls are right, the two likely winners of tomorrow's Republican nomination contests for governor and U.S. Senator -- Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina -- are both in the San Fernando Valley today. So I'm moving from Burbank to Woodland Hills to check in with both.

A few quick notes from Fiorina's stop at a campaign office full of fast-dialing volunteers in Burbank:

  • This is a very confident campaign, focusing on the general election (and wondering why Tom Campbell, who had led in early polls, didn't put up more of a fight)
  • Fiorina, pre-emptively wants to counter any post-election spin that she bought her victory with money from her own campaign. (Campbell hasn't had the money to get ads broadly on the air). Fiorina, who had said last year that she didn't plan to put millions of her own money (and then changed her mind), hit hard the talking point that her campaign has 12,000 individual donors from 50 states.
  • Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Fiorina, in a brief exchange with reporters, turned each question to a discussion of California's need to produce more jobs -- particularly private sector ones. Expect this to be the relentless theme of her campaign against Boxer.
  • There's something Obama has done that she sort of likes. I asked Fiorina for her views on "Race to the Top", President Obama's program to create a competition among states for education dollars. The program splits Republicans. Some don't like it because they see it as a federal intrusion on local education (and because it was part of the stimulus package). Others like it because the competition has forced teachers' unions in many states to embrace certain reforms -- most prominently agreeing to tie teacher pay to student performance.

Fiorina said she had concerns about how the program was working but described herself as having hopes for it.

About to head into Whitman's event in Woodland Hills. More on that later.

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