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February 09, 2009

Meg Whitman joins race for California governor

From the Los Angeles Times:

Former EBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman joined the race for governor of California this morning, setting off a battle between Silicon Valley moguls for the 2010 Republican nomination.

Whitman, 52, has never run for public office, but is banking that Californians will see her corporate background as just what the state needs to break its chronic cycle of fiscal disasters.

"California faces challenges unlike any other time in its history -- a weak and faltering economy, massive job losses, and an exploding state budget deficit," Whitman said in a written statement. "California is better than this, and I refuse to stand by and watch it fail."

Whitman's chief rival for the party nomination is state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, also a high-tech tycoon. Another Republican exploring a run is a former Silicon Valley congressman, Tom Campbell, now an economics professor at UC Berkeley.

With vast personal wealth, Whitman and Poizner can each spend tens of millions of dollars apiece on the race; Campbell faces a steep challenge in raising enough to be competitive.

A competitive primary appears increasingly likely among Democrats as well for the right to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who is barred by state law from seeking another term.

Whitman sports an impressive campaign team, with Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Mary Bono-Mack (R-Calif.) serving as co-chairs.  Scott Howell and Company -- one of the leading Republican media firms -- is handling her campaign's media.  

And Mitt Romney's much-lauded finance director Spencer Zwick is serving as her senior campaign adviser and financial vice-chairman.