Boxer maintains fundraising edge over Fiorina

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U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) shakes hands with Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Carly Fiorina during a debate on the campus of Saint Mary's College on September 1, 2010.

WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer appears to have a distinct financial advantage going into the final weeks of her campaign against Republican Carly Fiorina, but spending from conservative groups could help dull that edge.

The three-term lawmaker received $6.2 million in contributions during the latest quarter ending Sept. 30. She had about $6.5 million in the bank.

By comparison, Fiorina raised $5.9 million during the last quarter and had $1.8 million in the bank.

The former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO, declined to donate any more of her own money to the race after contributing $5.5 million in the primary.

Her campaign has been getting a boost in recent weeks from social conservatives and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which have taken out ads on California's airwaves that are highly critical of Boxer.

Meanwhile, the White House has been lending Boxer a hand. President Barack Obama will campaign on her behalf Oct. 22 after already participating in two fundraisers. Also, First Lady Michelle Obama plans to campaign in California before Election Day.

Both candidates released their fundraising numbers for the latest reporting period on Friday, the deadline for House and Senate candidates. The totals are an important aspect of the race because of the large amount of money that's required to run a competitive race in California.

In a news release describing her fundraising, Fiorina's campaign sought to emphasize the extra help she is receiving from national Republicans. Her campaign manager, Marty Wilson, said the joint campaign Fiorina formed with the National Republican Senatorial Committee has raised $3 million, and that the national party has committed to spending $4.8 million. Meanwhile, the Democratic committee overseeing the Senate races has not said whether it will make a similar investment in the state.

Three polls released in September showed Boxer narrowly leading Fiorina.

Wilson said that despite Boxer's fundraising advantage, "This race is in a virtual tie even in traditionally blue California with just 18 days to go." He said he's confident the campaign has the resources it needs to communicate with voters about Boxer's record.

Rose Kapolczynksi, Boxer's campaign manager, expressed similar confidence.

"With these resources, we can make sure that voters learn about the clear choice in this election," Kapolczynski said.

Boxer had a huge head start on Fiorina going into the general election. She had scant competition in the primary, enabling her to conserve her resources. Meanwhile, Fiorina had two serious challengers in the GOP primary, which left her at a 12-to-1 cash disadvantage when that election was over.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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