Candidates Make Final Push Ahead of Primary

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Voter Charles Smallwood stands at a voting booth to cast his ballot at Sunderland Elementary School, February 12, 2008 in Sunderland Maryland. Voters in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia head to the polls today for state and district primaries.

    Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina made a final push for votes Saturday in their bids for governor and U.S. Senate, invigorated by new polls showing them leading their Republican races just days ahead of Tuesday's primary.

    Whitman held a rally at a historic former hotel where she unveiled new campaign signs, a signal she expected to move into the general election to face presumptive Democratic nominee Jerry Brown.

    "When we win the primary on June 8th, then's when the real work starts because we're going to beat Jerry Brown," Whitman told the crowd of about 250 supporters at the Villa del Sol, where she kicked off her candidacy nine months ago. "Jerry Brown was already governor 35 years ago, and it was not a great run."

    Whitman was accompanied on stage by former Gov. Pete Wilson and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

    A Field Poll released Friday showed the former eBay chief executive with double the support of her Republican rival, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

    Poizner spent the morning knocking on doors in Orange County and later held a low-key town hall question-and-answer session at the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, another Southern California Republican stronghold.

    Fiorina focused her efforts Saturday in the Central Valley. The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive stopped at a campaign phone bank in a Sacramento suburb and delivered a simple message to prospective voters: She is the candidate best-positioned to beat three-term incumbent Barbara Boxer in the fall.

    "A lot of folks have gone up against her and lost," Fiorina told a voter from the campaign call center in Gold River, an affluent community along the American River. "It's important to have someone who can win."

    A Field Poll out Saturday showed Fiorina with double-digit leads in the GOP primary over former congressman Tom Campbell and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

    But previous polls have shown Fiorina trailing in a possible general election matchup against Boxer and have given Campbell a slight edge.

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