G.O.P. Aims for California, but Rifts Arise

By ADAM NAGOURNEY, The New York Times

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BURBANK, Calif. — If Republicans are to have a serious chance of capturing control of the Senate in November, they are going to have to win in traditionally Democratic states like California, where Senator Barbara Boxer, a three-term Democrat, is showing signs of vulnerability.

But before Republicans get a clear shot at Mrs. Boxer, they will have to overcome deep divisions within their own party — divides that reflect both the grass-roots energy surging through the conservative movement and the tensions between the party’s moderate and conservative wings.

There are certainly more vulnerable Democratic Senate seats in the country, but early polls in California suggest that Mrs. Boxer is facing what could be the toughest election of her career. Her difficulties in a state that has for 20 years proved reliably Democratic in national elections suggests how the pendulum has swung against Democrats in just a year. Her potential problems are a function more of this political climate than of any position or vote she has taken.

Still, for Republicans, this could end up being a repeat of a play they have seen before: a promising opportunity escaping them in a state where Democrats have the edge of 1.5 million more voters registered.

Three Republican candidates are in a lacerating battle for their party’s nomination: Carly Fiorina, the wealthy former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard; Tom Campbell, a former member of Congress who fits the moderate profile for the kind of Republican who has won statewide contests in the past; and Charles S. DeVore, a state assemblyman who is presenting himself as the Tea Party candidate.

To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/us/politics/02senate.html?th&emc=th

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