LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brushing aside the polls, Republican Senate challenger Carly Fiorina heads into the final weekend of her race to unseat Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer focused on convincing undecided voters that she is the best candidate to start reviving the economy.

She says the incumbent, who is seeking a fourth term in the Senate, would not be receiving so much help from the White House and fellow Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein if she weren’t in trouble.

President Barack Obama has traveled to the state three times this year on Boxer’s behalf, and first lady Michelle Obama attended a rally and fundraiser for her last Tuesday. Fiorina needs to keep her supporters optimistic to ensure they vote.

“It is very, very winnable,” said Fiorina, who will campaign in San Diego, coastal Orange County, Sacramento and Chico on Saturday. “It comes down in many ways to turnout.”

After several public opinion polls in late summer pointed to the race as a potential toss-up, recent polls have shown Boxer building a narrow lead. Fiorina’s campaign has dismissed some of those recent polls, including a Field Poll released Friday that showed her trailing Boxer 49 percent to 41 percent, with one in 10 voters undecided.

Fiorina returned to the campaign trail Thursday after being hospitalized the previous two days. She was being treated for an infection that stemmed from reconstructive surgery after her successful battle with breast cancer.

The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive is trying to keep voters focused on her central campaign theme — getting the economy growing again. She reacted to news that the nation’s gross domestic product grew at a modest rate of 2 percent last quarter by saying the number confirmed that the federal government’s $814 billion economic stimulus plan “was only successful in stimulating growth in the size of government.”

She also criticized Boxer for opposing extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all taxpayers, including the wealthy. Boxer favors letting the tax cuts expire for those families making more than $250,000 a year.

Boxer begins her weekend by visiting a Democratic Party office in San Jose on Saturday. She had Feinstein at her side Friday.

While Boxer said jobs will define the election, the two Democrats also alluded to abortion and offshore oil drilling as a way to draw a distinction between the incumbent and her Republican challenger.

Polls show most California voters oppose expanded offshore drilling off the Pacific Coast, while a solid majority also support a woman’s right to have an abortion. Fiorina opposes abortion and says an expansion of offshore drilling should be left to California voters.

“Those are two huge, seminal issues in this state, where the vote is critical,” said Feinstein “We have to fight to protect our coast, and if one person won’t fight to protect it, it cuts our effectiveness by 50 percent.”

Boxer has defended her votes on the stimulus bill and other legislation designed to get the unemployed back to work or to maintain the jobs of teachers.

“Those jobs bills would have failed if she was in the Senate instead of me because Senator Feinstein would have been the lonely voice in California. Her vote would have been nullified by Fiorina’s stand,” Boxer said.

Fiorina and her supporters are hoping voters will want to give someone else a chance.

“She’s been in Congress an awfully long time, and she hasn’t produced anything that’s affected my life in a positive manner,” Nina Mourning, 63, a Republican from the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael said of Boxer during a Friday morning Fiorina campaign event.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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