SAN FRANCISCO — Both are former corporate chief executives, with personal fortunes, impressive résumés and famous friends. Both are conservatives who say that they have lived the American dream and fear for its future. And both are Bay Area women, with their eyes and ambitions firmly fixed on a change of address.
But beyond those surface similarities, the Republican candidates for California governor and United States senator, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, are charging into the general election with very different political personas and campaign strategies.
Ms. Whitman, a billionaire who has poured more than $100 million of her own fortune into her campaign, has defined herself as an on-message spokeswoman for what she calls a three-part plan to fix California. Ms. Fiorina, meanwhile, has emerged as a fiery, combative saleswoman for this year’s brand of anti-incumbent anger.
“They’re trying to ride the same wave, but they’re riding it a little bit different,” said Jack Citrin, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s like Fiorina is on a surfboard, and Whitman is on her yacht.”