As an early supporter of the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in the (once-)Golden State, I’m feeling pretty good today. Not only did my gal Carly win the Republican primary, but she also won more votes than all her opponents combined (including the no-names) and with a few tens of thousands of votes to spare.
I was hoping Fiorina would break 50%, giving her a good head of steam into the contest against a partisan Democrat with a record of nasty campaigning. Fiorina’s final tally was over 55%, clocking it at 56.2%. She won every county in the state, save four in Barbara Boxer’s base, the San Francisco Bay Area.
Initially, she ran a few points behind Tom Campbell. She beat him last night by nearly 35 points (more points than she tallied in early polling).
How’d she do it?
Money for one. In a state like California, you’re gonna need a lot of money to get your message out. With her big victory last night, she’s in a better position to raise money for the fall campaign. She can impress donors with her ability to raise money and to pump her own funds into the campaign.
New Media. As I pointed out last night, Carly has been reaching out to bloggers since Day One. And while I’ve long been bullish on this accomplished woman, her campaign came to me (and other bloggers) early on, promoting the campaign and soliciting our support. They came to us. (They have a savvy web person in regular contact with bloggers–one who is quick to respond to e-mails and otherwise respond to queries.)
And it wasn’t just through bloggers that her campaign turned to new media to promote her campaign. Her team put together some pretty creative web videos (see them here) which generated a lot of buzz in the internets (not just blogosphere), drawing attention to the campaign. Watch for even more amusing (and devastating) videos attacking incumbent Boxer’s arrogance and accomplishments (well, lack thereof).
Message. Carly ran on Reaganite ideas, appealing to social conservatives to be sure, but like the Gipper, keeping the focus on opposition to big government and support for free-market solutions to our economic woes. Support from such conservative stalwarts as Tom Coburn and Sarah Palin certainly helped her solidify her base. Watch for Boxer to attack Fiorina on the Palin endorsement. If Carly can parry that and keep the focus on economic issues, she will strengthen her position for the fall campaign.
Moxie. Carly showed tremendous determination on the campaign trail, first when attacked from the right by Chuck DeVore, later from the left by Tom Campbell. The campaign regularly sent out e-mails alerting us to the candidate’s travels across the state. It is this quality which will help her the most in the fall campaign. She has proven herself to be a determined challenger. She’ll keep fighting as she faces a more relentless foe in the hyperpartisan 28-year Capitol Hill veteran.