Does Silicon Valley Power Translate Onto the Political Trail?

Former CEOs have not turned Silicon Valley success into runaway campaigns

Friday, Oct 9, 2009  |  Updated 5:30 PM PDT
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Does Silicon Valley Power Translate Onto the Political Trail?

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Carly Fiorina

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The early votes are in and Californians are not checking the box next to the names of former dot comer CEOs turned politicians.

Reports on Friday show U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer enjoying a comfortable lead ahead of her Republican opposition challenging her for Senate seat, which is up next year. Included in Boxer's rear view mirror is former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Boxer is also flexing her fundraising muscle by taking in $1.6 million during the latest quarter, giving her $6.3 million in the bank.

Her main Republican competition so far, state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, raised about $378,000 during the last three months, while Fiorina numbers are not known because she is still considering whether she will seek the Republican nomination.

But both Fiorina and former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, who is running for the Republican nomination for California governor, have failed to translate their Silicon Valley celebrity status and insular praise into early polling leads for their respective races.

Whitman, a household name in the tech world, is in a dead heat for the Republican bid with former congressman Tom Campbell and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, according to a poll. The problem is half the people questioned said they were still undecided. Could Fiorina be looking at Whitman's campaign and second guessing her next move?

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