Former eBay, HP CEOs Triumph in CA Primaries

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina are moving up in California politics. Whitman will be the GOP candidate against Jerry Brown, while Fiorina will run for Senate against Democrat Barbara Boxer. The Wall St. Journal has the story:

“Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., be warned because you now face your biggest nightmare: Two businesswomen who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done,” Ms. Whitman said in her victory speech Tuesday night in Universal City, Calif.

(B)oth candidates, having tacked right to win over conservatives in the primaries, must convince California’s historically moderate electorate that they have better solutions to the state’s economic and political paralysis than their veteran liberal rivals. Both must also show they can make nice with the state’s diverse ethnic and economic demographics, possibly softening their primary-race rhetoric on issues such as illegal immigration.

Amid a generally light turnout statewide, some Republicans who marked their ballots for the two women said they did so, in part, because of their business experience. “We need some business people who know how to run businesses in our government,” said 62-year-old Frank Barragan, an airline-service representative who voted for both women at a precinct in San Francisco’s Glen Park neighborhood.

Added Steve Fryer, a 72-year-old investment banker who also voted for the former CEOs in Newport Beach: “Business people know what the real world’s all about, and I’m afraid that politicians don’t. I think fiscal conservative is the most important thing you could be right now” because of the state economy’s woes.

It would also behoove voters to look at both women’s histories as CEOs of their respective companies. Whitman and Fiorina have vastly different reputations in Silicon Valley. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of those strengths (and, in Fiorina’s case, flaws) manifest in government office.

This is going to be interesting.

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.