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The GOP's Carly Fiorina officially enters the fray today to unseat California's Sen. Barbara Boxer

March 8, 2010 |  8:02 am

Now that the trio of Republicans who covet Democrat Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat have had their first debate, one of them -- Carly Fiorina -- officially declares her candidacy today.

The 55-year-old former chairwoman and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard will file her candidacy papers late Monday morning in San Jose before meeting with the media to get on the local news for free access across the state's very expensive media markets.

California Republican Senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina

A Texas native and Stanford graduate, the daughter of a law school dean and judge, Fiorina began her business career as a receptionist.

She ended up as an executive with AT&T and then running HP, a Fortune Top 20 company for six years. In 2008, she was a senior adviser on the less-than-victorious GOP presidential campaign of John McCain.

Fiorina announced her candidacy back in November but now finds herself is in a three-way Republican race against ex-Rep. Tom Campbell, a late-comer after abandoning a bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who's seeking to tap into the widespread Tea Party sentiment.

As an incumbent in a terrible state economy (unemployment increased again last month, to 12.7%), Boxer would be expected to face some hurdles.

During her three terms the blunt Boxer has alienated many and drew unwanted publicity last year by abruptly telling a testifying Army general to stop calling her Ma'am, as the military are taught to do, and call her senator instead.

As The Ticket reported here last month, a Rasmussen Reports poll surprisingly found the incumbent Boxer unable to reach the 50% approval rating for the second straight month in hypothetical match-ups against the GOP crowd. That inability is historically deemed a....

...sign of vulnerability for reelection hopefuls, despite the powerful perks of her office and despite California's recent history of Democratic leanings (The nation's most populous state gave Barack Obama 61% of its votes in 2008.)

Rasmussen found Boxer, who turns 70 in November, barely leading  Fiorina, 46-42, the same margin as in January but down from a 10-point lead in September. Boxer beats Campbell by the same 4-point margin, 45-41, the same as in January when he jumped into the race, and she even leads the lesser-known DeVore by only 5 points, 47-42, down from her November lead of 10 points and January's 46-40 spread.

On her campaign website, Fiorina confronts directly her recent battle with breast cancer, saying she has received a completely clean bill of health after chemotherapy.

Loyal Ticket readers from the Democratic primary days of 2008 will remember our colleague Seema Mehta's tales from the trail. She covered Friday's first GOP senatorial debate here on the website, on a Sacramento radio station.

It was also Fiorina's first campaign debate ever and she aggressively pursued Campbell for not being a strong friend of Israel while DeVore attacked her over printer sales to Iran by an HP subsidiary during Fiorina's executive tenure. Both DeVore and Fiorina went after Campbell for his ties to a radical Palestinian.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Carly for California