Whitman, Fiorina win California Republican primaries

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Former technology industry executives Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina emerged winners in the California Republican primary elections on Tuesday, winning their party's nomination for governor and U.S. senator, respectively.

With 51 percent of voting precincts reporting results, Whitman, formerly CEO of eBay, won 64 percent of Republican votes. She campaigned for the party's nomination on a platform that called for cutting state government spending, improving schools and creating jobs. Her nomination sets up a race against former Governor Jerry Brown in November for governor of the fiscally troubled state.

"Republicans are fired up to support Meg Whitman in 2010, because unlike Jerry Brown's record of 40 years in Sacramento politics, our nominee represents credible leadership to create jobs and improve the state's economy," Ron Nehring , chairman of the California Republican Party, said in a statement.

Fiorina, who served as chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard until she was ousted by the company's board in 2005, will face off against incumbent Barbara Boxer for one of two U.S. Senate seats representing California. With 51 percent of precincts reporting, Fiorina carried 55 percent of Republican votes.

"The California Republican Party is thrilled to have Carly Fiorina as our choice to take on Barbara Boxer, the most liberal, out-of-touch senator in Washington," Nehring said.

Whitman's primary campaign was notable for the amount of money it spent, largely drawing on Whitman's own fortune to fend off competition from Steve Poizner, a technology entrepreneur.

State records show that Whitman spent US$19 million on her campaign in 2009, with a further $61 million spent by her campaign between January 1 and May 22 this year.

By comparison, Poizner's campaign spent $20 million between January 1 and May 22.

Brown, who did not face serious competition in the Democrat primary, spent $403,000 on his primary campaign between January 1 and May 22. At that time, the campaign had $20 million in cash on hand.

Whitman's campaign had $3.7 million in cash, as of May 22.

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