Tom Campbell has pulled his TV ads for the U.S. Senate race in California less than a week before the Republican primary, according to this report. Campbell reportedly has only $400,000 left to spend on his campaign, which is not enough to pay for a statewide media blitz. His main opponent, Carly Fiorina, by contrast seems to have all the money she needs to complete her primary campaign in strong fashion. Much of the money apparently is her own.
Campbell is not conceding the race. However, by pulling his ads, he is seen as all but conceding to Fiorina, who now is well ahead of him in the polls. A LA Times/USC poll from late May has Fiorina ahead of Campbell by a margin of 15 points (38 percent of Fiorina, 23 percent for Campbell, 16 percent for conservative Chuck DeVore, and 20 percent undecided).
Although she lacks a record, Fiorina has made inroads with conservatives. A hardcore Republican conservative friend tells me he has switched from Campbell to Fiorina. He explains:
[I supported Campbell] mostly because I thought he was the only one who could beat Boxer. He is a brilliant guy and all, but I heard enough about him that I think he is a little too moderate for me. Of course, do I really know Carly? No, not really. DeVore is the most conservative and lights up those lights, but I think Boxer (who is very beatable this time) would crush him.
The LA Times/USC poll referred to above suggests that Campbell is, indeed, the most likely of the three Republicans to defeat Senator Boxer. It has Campbell leading Boxer by seven points, while Fiorina trails her by six (DeVore trails by 10). My friend notes, however, that this is a poll of registered voters, not likely ones. The poll also seems like an outlier.
Even so, Campbell may well be the strongest candidate against Boxer, and it’s not really clear that he’s appreciably less conservative than Fiorina will prove to be. But the argument is probably moot, since Campbell trails Fiorina and can’t run ads down the back stretch of this race.