LOS ANGELES (CBS 5/AP) — Democrat Barbara Boxer won her fourth term to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night, dashing GOP hopes of removing the liberal icon with a strong challenge from former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive Carly Fiorina.

The campaign was a difficult one as the 69-year-old found herself defending Democratic attempts to turn around the struggling economy. It was her 11th consecutive political victory.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this victory after the toughest and roughest campaign of my life,” Boxer told supporters as she declared victory at an election-night party in Hollywood.

Minutes earlier, Fiorina, noting fewer than half the ballots had been counted and the race was still close, refused to concede.

Carly Fiorina Audio Clip:

“This is going to be a long night,” she said. “Just get prepared. We might not know for many, many more hours.”

During the campaign, Fiorina had blamed Boxer and her fellow Democrats for failed economic policies she said had kept the country in recession. But Boxer turned the tables and said Fiorina represented a return to Republican policies from the past that had created the recession.

She also painted Fiorina as too extreme for most California voters on issues ranging from abortion to gun control.

Fiorina, a multimillionaire, was aided by a wave of attack ads funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and groups opposing abortion, gay marriage and gun controls.

To help counter the challenge, Boxer received several visits from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

She always said the race would be close but never wavered in her confidence that voters would return her to Washington.

At the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, where hundreds of Boxer’s supporters had gathered for a victory party, a loud cheer went up when her name was flashed on a giant screen as the race’s projected winner.

The crowd waved yellow “Boxer 2010” and “Viva Boxer” signs while swaying to a salsa band that performed “Victory, Victoria.”

At Fiorina’s election-night party in Irvine, retired firefighter Randy Burtt, 58, of Norco, dropped his head and shook it from side to side when he had heard Boxer had won.

He said her re-election would mean “more of the same, more bureaucracy, more government and less in your pocket.”

At the polls on Tuesday, voters often sounded like the candidates had while they were on the campaign trail.

“Barbara Boxer has been there too long and hasn’t done enough for me to want to keep her there,” said Kayla Tarbet, 25, of Long Beach.

Meanwhile, David Tapia, a television casting director from Glendale, focused on Hewlett-Packard’s expansion overseas while laying off workers in the U.S.

“Sending jobs out of this country is something I feel strongly about and it really hits the American people,” said Tapia, 37. “For some of us struggling to find employment, it’s really hard.”

The momentum Republicans had generated around the country in their attempt to win back the House and Senate added to the drama of the California race, even as polls shortly before Election Day showed Boxer with a slight edge.

Fiorina, 56, had targeted the state’s independents—who represent about one in five voters—as well as centrist Democrats, hoping her message of economic renewal through private-sector job creation would resonate with swing voters.

She had to broaden her appeal, as all Republicans running statewide in California must do, because of the 13-point voter registration edge held by Democrats. Ultimately, it was not enough, as Boxer rallied union members and other core Democratic supporters.

During the campaign, Boxer consistently attacked Fiorina’s tenure at Hewlett-Packard, saying she was responsible for laying off 30,000 workers and sending jobs to China and India. That put Fiorina on the defensive for much of the campaign, undermining her message that she was best-suited to boosting private-sector jobs.

Boxer also drew on Fiorina’s opposition to abortion and more extensive gun control laws, as well as her opposition to a permanent moratorium on offshore oil drilling, as examples of the businesswoman holding views that were out of step with mainstream Californians.

Fiorina, Boxer had said, “walks in that far right lane.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (27)
  1. Sick of CA says:

    California is a plague to the US. I was born here, I live here, and I am sick of what this state has become. Now the same old Liberal BS again. The majority of Californians are fools as proved by the outcome tonight.

    1. CaliforniaRocks says:

      Do us a favor and move to an enlightened state, like Kentucky or Alaska

      1. gp says:

        The only rocks that are in california are in your head, dumas!

    2. Free says:

      We are fools and you are not… hmmm you must be so lonely

  2. Jim says:

    Boxer has failed Californians. Shame on us for not looking forward.

  3. Confusing Statistics says:

    Only 14% of the vote has reported yet Boxer has won???? Someone please explain this new math to me.

  4. W. H. Heydt says:

    It’s not that one voted *for* Boxer, but that one voted *against* Fiorina–who, after all–did her level best to wreck HP and nearly succeeded.

  5. Neck and Neck says:

    With 18% of the vote counted, only 14,000 voites out of 1.3-mil cast have Boxer ahead…
    Barbara Boxer (D) 1,325,690 47%
    Carly Fiorina (R) 1,309,228 47%

  6. Paul says:

    I’m glad to see that Californians are sensible people who aren’t fooled by out of state funded attacks on a good Senator who has served us well. Go, Boxer, Go!

    1. td says:

      Yeah Great Senator… Drink some more Cool-Aide..
      What a shame.. Another term stuck with an imbosill..

      1. gp says:

        at least 40 percent of californians have a brain and used it, the other 50 percent or so showed that the brain they used too vote with is the one they sit on, you are called a dumas!

  7. ML says:

    I don’t see how they can call the race for Boxer at this stage. They haven’t even counted the mail-in ballots yet.

  8. TOO EARLY TO CALL says:

    A little early on this one CBS…Fiorina just took the lead in overall votes!

  9. H says:

    21 percent and Fiorina is in the lead?

  10. John Q Public says:

    Isn’t it amazing that this individual is so comfortable with herself that she claims victory before ½ of the votes are in?

    With all due respect Ms. Boxer, you might take a second look around, the people that elected you to office last term are not that happy with your performance, evident of how close this election is.

    We are sending you and your staff a message, you are replaceable, we are watching what you do and nearly ½ of the voting public are not pleased with you and your teams performance as our elected representative.

    This is your wakeup call from the people of this state.

  11. PartyofNO says:

    @Malik – The only thing the GOP is interested in is driving the country further into the ditch. They will sell us all out to prevent Obama from having success. GOP Senate Leader McConnell has admitted that their single biggest priority is to make Obama a one-term president. Not “cut taxes.” Not “reduce the deficit.” Not “put
    America back to work.”

    This is not a surprise. The infamous ObamaCare was basically the same plan that Republican Mitt Romney wrote. But if a Dem proposes it, GOP will oppose… even if it is the best thing for America. That is the definition of a traitor.

  12. Bob says:

    If these billionaire b*tches are such smart savvy business women, why would they spend hundreds of millions of dollars of personal money to get a job that only pays a couple hundred thousands dollars? They expected to steal it all back by getting kickbacks from their country club billionaire buddies while shipping our jobs overseas.

  13. Sun4Fun says:

    Brown+Boxer+25 = higher taxes to pay for Unions, Welfare/Medicaid ( 33% of the total payout in the country is in this broke state which goes to people with loads of kids cell phones in hand etc. They rip off the system.
    Yes, I am moving. Said I would if Brown got in. Have fun paying your higher taxes..

  14. Hudson says:

    All I can say is that Fiorina ran HP to the ground. Ask any HP employee. Why does she deserve to be senator? She should start small and run for a city like San Jose, do well there and you would be considered. Like anything in life, you have to work your way up.

    1. td says:

      Yeah Right.. It is called business and she turned around a fiailing company,
      Sometimes you have to man up when there is clutter you need to clear it for the greater good!! Move on, Just like California needs to trim the fat in government and get rid of the bllood sucking illegals..
      That ain’t gonnas happen with Captain Moonbeam as Govenor and Ms.Looser Boxer..

  15. Frank Danko says:

    she’s a phony, and just not that smart like all the other liberal genuises that think you can redistribute your way out of a reccession.
    coming out of a recession takes hard work and hard working people, her party has an abundance of those folks……we’re doomed!!!

  16. Paul says:

    re: Hudson
    Basically, yeah.

    Fiorina has already shown herself to be very bad at managing a business. Why exactly does that qualify her to be a Senator?

    Boxer, on the other hand, has always had our back. So this election, we’ve got hers. She deserves her win.

    1. td says:

      OK Mr.. Exactly what has Ms. Boxer done for you or all Californians? NADA….
      What busniess has she run successfully on her own??? What company does her husband have 17 million $$ ownership of?? Look into the real facts, this female dog is an idiot, liar, and a theif..

  17. Sick of CA says:


    Do us a favor and move to an enlightened state, like Kentucky or Alaska

    AS SOON AS I CAN! California is “enlightened”? Bankruptcy is enlightenment? Yes, I will be leaving, and another hard working, tax paying family raising hard working productive members of society will leave. You can keep this broken state and all the troubles that have been caused by the ultra liberal mentality that has “triumphed” again!

  18. Sink_california says:

    California is a refuse for the insane. It must be as they keep doing the same and expecting different results.
    watch your business base leave. The rest of the country will not bail you out!

  19. Martin T says:

    California you get what you deserve. I had the foresight to see this train wreck coming and moved my business’s( that employed some 300 people) to a business friendly state. The only thing Sacramento can do well is kill jobs! Keep the same old retreads in office so I get too prosper and laugh from the sidelines.

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