The leader in the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in America’s most liberal state is… Republican Condoleezza Rice, according to a new Field Poll released Wednesday. Rice, the former Secretary of State and Stanford don, is backed by 49% of voters–ahead of Attorney General Kamala Harris, the liberal Democrat who was the first to declare.
The poll, which sampled 972 likely voters in California, presented respondents with a list of 18 potential candidates and asked if they “would be inclined or not inclined to vote for that person,” with no limit on the number they could support. Rice led among both male and female voters, and did well among Latino voters, though the top choice for Latinos remains former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Rice and Harris each polled 74% among their respective political parties.
Rice has shown no political ambitions since leaving the Bush administration, though she spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention and is frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential contender. She is considered a moderate on many issues, including immigration, though she is disliked by the left for her relatively hawkish views on foreign policy.
Boxer announced her retirement earlier this year, setting off a scramble among Democrats, who are presumed to have the Senate seat locked. A few Republicans have shown interest in the seat. The statewide primary will be held in June 2016.
Joel B. Pollak