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California Congress in Play.jpgDemocratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday downplayed poll numbers suggesting she faces her most difficult re-election campaign yet this year, saying she has won 10 straight hard-fought races.

"It's tough, a lot of the years were very tough, and a lot of the pundits like you were predicting my losses every single time I've run," Boxer said, responding to a reporter's question at a Port of West Sacramento press conference. "And all I can say is, I take nothing for granted."

The latest Field Poll found last month that Boxer was trailing former GOP Congressman Tom Campbell by 1 percentage point in a hypothetical matchup, while Boxer had a 1-point margin over former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and a 4-point lead over Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine. The margin of error was 3.7 points.

By comparison, Boxer had a 13-point lead over her closest GOP rival in a January 2004 Field Poll. She had a smaller 2-point lead in March 1998 over GOP candidate Matt Fong.

Boxer visited the Port of West Sacramento to promote a recent solar installation and $30 million in federal stimulus funds to launch container barge service between ports in West Sacramento, Oakland and Stockton. She was joined by West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Sacramento-Yolo Port District Commission Chairman Mike McGowan and other local officials.

She alluded to the fact that more such visits would help her campaign efforts.

"You know, this is a big state," Boxer said. "It's got 38 million people, almost, now. So every six years when you run, they have a lot of other things on their mind. They haven't been following everything I've done for the port. They haven't followed everything I've done for kids and crime, fighting crime, and so on. So I've got to get out there, and I'm not worried. I'm excited."

Boxer defended the health care overhaul passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

"Overall, I think people will be pleased," Boxer said. "My opponents want to repeal it. So in this election, there's going to be a very clear choice, and the people will decide."

PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Barbara Boxer discusses the Copenhagen climate talks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)


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