A long time coming: Former eBay (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman has formally announced her candidacy for governor of California.
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.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is the only major formal contender in the Democratic primary so far, but Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are both preparing to announce their candidacies. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is also weighing whether to join the race after his likely reelection next month. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has not ruled out a run for the Democratic nomination….
She has made clear that she will position herself — like Poizner and Campbell — as a fiscal conservative and social moderate who supports abortion rights.
That profile, a successful formula for Schwarzenegger and other Republicans in statewide races, leaves an opening for a more conservative candidate in the June 2010 primary.