Former eBay boss Meg Whitman plans on running for governor of California when Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves the high-profile executive gig in 2010.
The billionaire Republican businesswoman confirmed speculation on her bid today by announcing she's forming an exploratory committee for the race. "Exploratory" is a bit of an understatement, however - she's also hired a team of more than 20 advisors, including several veterans from Schwarzenegger campaigns.
Present Republican governor Schwarzenegger faces his four-year term limit in 2010, leaving the door wide open for successors to one of the nation's most powerful governorships.
"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 stated on her website. "California is better than this, and I refuse to stand by and watch it fail."
With the campaign slogan "A New California" former California Republican governor Pete Wilson will co-chair the campaign with Kevin McCarthy, the House chief deputy minority whip serving an advisory role.
Although she's never run for public office herself, Whitman served as national co-chair of John McCain's failed presidential bid last year. She's supported former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney before he lost the Republican primary to McCain.
Whitman's likely rivals for the Republican ticket are state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, another wealthy ex-Silicon Valley executive and former congressman Tom Campbell, now an economic professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
Whitman said in the coming weeks, through speeches in Silicon Valley, Orange County and at the California Republican Party Convention in Sacramento, she'll offer her vision for Golden State politics for 2010.
No word yet if campaign donations will be PayPal only. ®