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Story highlights

Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, beat Fiorina in 2010 to hold on to her seat representing California in the Senate

Boxer said Monday she isn't surprised to see Fiorina's success in the debates, but she expects her numbers to come back down

Washington CNN —  

The woman who fended off Carly Fiorina to retain her Senate seat in 2010 says when America learns more about Fiorina’s business record and “mean” spirit, she will no longer be riding high in the polls.

As Fiorina soars in recent surveys for the Republican presidential nomination on the back of two strong debate performances, the race between the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and California Sen. Barbara Boxer is coming back into the spotlight.

Boxer said Monday she isn’t surprised to see Fiorina’s success in the debates, but she expects her numbers to come back down once she’s in the spotlight.

“Oh, she’s bouncing for sure. But, you know, she’s bouncing because she really is very articulate,” Boxer said Monday on MSNBC. “She’s very good with words, (but) I think when people see her deeds and see her mean-spiritedness, she won’t be on the top anymore.”

A CNN/ORC national poll released Sunday showed Fiorina rocketing to second place in the race after the debate.

RELATED: Fiorina surges in poll

GOP front-runner Donald Trump has used the 2010 race to hit Fiorina, and to try to redirect attention from comments he made about Fiorina’s looks. He has specifically brought up an incident when Fiorina was caught on a hot mic insulting Boxer’s hair. At the time, Fiorina was caught joking about a Boxer television appearance, calling her rival’s hair “so yesterday.”

Fiorina told Sean Hannity on Friday on his radio show that comment “wasn’t a generous thing” to say, and she resolved to not comment on people’s hair after that.

Boxer didn’t mention the insult in her interview on Monday, but she did slam Fiorina’s business record as CEO– which Trump has also gone after hard since her surge in the race.

“When you examine her record and the fact that she shipped 30,000 jobs overseas and forced those beautiful employees to even train their foreign replacements, when these people come out to tell the story of Carly Fiorina like they did in my Senate race – I won that race in a landslide,” Boxer said. “I think the Republicans would have a very rough time if she was on the ticket.”

Boxer won the race by nearly 1 million votes, 52% to 42%.

Fiorina’s campaign responded to the Boxer’s Monday remarks by knocking the senator’s record.

“California has the highest poverty rates in the nation under Barbara Boxer’s policies,” said Fiorina spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores in a statement. “As president, Carly will challenge the status quo that has crushed Americans under the weight and corruption of this government.”