For some time now it's been conventional wisdom that Barbara Boxer was in deep trouble in her race to keep her Senate seat and that Carly Fiorina had the best shot at taking her out. A new poll is casting serious doubt on the second part of that equation.
According to this snapshot, released yesterday, CA State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore does better against Boxer in a hypothetical matchup than Fiorina would.
The assumption that Fiorina would run stronger against Boxer than DeVore has made fundraising a challenge but this poll is likely to change all of that for DeVore and open up the spigots of campaign cash. And Boxer, who has coasted to victories over a series of weak candidates, may face the challenge of her lifetime should DeVore make it to the show. While the GOP typically runs uber-conservatives who are easily to marginalize as too right-wing for the state, DeVore may defy easy categorization. He's conservative to be sure on all of the issues that matter to GOP primary voters, but leads with defense and budget issues in a time when people are far more concerned about jobs and deficits. He's also become a favorite of the state's powerhouse talk radio hosts, John & Ken, and if they push his candidacy, it could be a game-changer. The two don't fit the profile of typical conservative talkers, generally taking a moderate to liberal position on social issues, while focusing their populist rage on tax and budget issues.
In the recent past, California Senate races have tended to be snoozers, with Democrats winning by huge margins. If the nation remains mired in economic distress in 2010, the Republicans, with a candidate like DeVore, may pull off a stunning upset.