Popular Calif. Senator's Express Losing Steam?

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Next week, California Republicans will choose a candidate to run against Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in the fall. Boxer has been popular for years, but could she be caught up in anti-incumbent fever?

South Bay Tea party president Nathan Mints has seen membership in the party triple in the hopes of defeating Boxer.

"She's seen as increasingly out of touch and elitist by the voters of this state and that's something she's going to have to answer for," Mints said.

Boxer has been a U.S. senator from California for more than 20 years and she had a landslide victory in her last race 6 years ago.

But that was then.

Now California's unemployment rate is the highest in the country and Boxer's philosophy of more government intervention is not necessarily playing well with crucial Independent voters.

Polls show her overall approval rating is just 37 percent. Forty-six percent disapprove of the job she is doing.

"There's no question that we're going to have a fight ahead of us,"said Becca Doten of the California Young Democrats. "We have to be able to talk about what has been accomplished so far in Obama's term. What they've been able to do and be able to hold that up against what other people are offering. If other people are offering 'NO,' I think there's a clear choice here that the party of 'YES.' The party of moving things forward is going to be the party that prevails."

President Barack Obama has traveled to California twice within one month to help Boxer raise campaign funds for the big fight ahead.

"I'm glad to be here for Barbara Boxer, my dear friend and one of the best United States senators anywhere in the country," Obama said.

Despite Boxer's potential troubles, she still leads any of her three would-be challengers, though it is only by single digits and is still too close to call.

"She's a failed senator," said Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, R-Calif.

Fiorina may be Boxer's eventual Republican opponent.

"We are destroying jobs in California, not because of bad economic times, but because of bad economic policy. Bigger government, higher taxes, thicker regulations are destroying jobs and Barbara Boxer likes all those things," she said.

Boxer's campaign said she is responsible for creating 400,000 jobs in the state, but her campaign ads show her on the defensive.

"We all know there's much more to be done. (There's) much more that I'm doing everyday to create jobs and jump start our economy. And while I know we won't solve all of our problems in a week or a month, I know we're going to get our economy back on track," Boxer said.

If the economy does not get back on track soon, the normally reliable "Boxer Express" could be derailed.

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