Politics & Government

California GOP Senate candidates downplay social issues

SANTA CLARA — Carly Fiorina avoided gay marriage and merely hinted at her anti-abortion stance in a 30-minute speech at the California Republican Party convention Saturday.

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore said he is only discussing his social beliefs this weekend when asked. And former Rep. Tom Campbell said he felt little need to defend his support of abortion rights or gay marriage at the conservative-leaning convention.

In a year when Republicans believe they have a serious shot at defeating three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, the three GOP candidates this weekend downplayed the social planks that ordinarily would go a long way in winning support from the party's conservative base.

They said that most Californians, including Republicans, are prioritizing issues like high unemployment, national debt and health care over litmus test concerns. But they know that come fall, they will find it difficult to defeat Boxer in blue-state California if the contest comes down to wedge-issue politics.

"The reality is that most Californians are not single-issue voters," Fiorina said, answering a question about her abortion stance. "Most Californians, most women, are worried about health care. They're worried about education. They're worried about their jobs.

"They're worried about out-of-control federal spending. So while we may not agree on everything, I think we really agree on the important issues that are on the table in this election."

The Field Poll and the Public Policy Institute of California in January found that Boxer held an advantage ranging anywhere from four percentage points to 17 percentage points in head-to-head matchups against potential GOP challengers. Boxer's campaign says that she faces a difficult fight this year.

To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.