Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman joined the race for governor of California Monday, announcing the creation of an exploratory committee to seek the Republican nomination.
The move, which allows Whitman to raise campaign funds, follows a politically active 2008 in which she served as finance chairwoman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and as co-chair of John McCain’s campaign.
"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 on her web site. "California is better than this, and I refuse to stand by and watch it fail."
Whitman, who became a billionaire as she steered eBay towards global prominence from 1998 to 2008, will surely use her vast personal wealth against main rival Steve Polzner, a high-tech entrepreneur.
Whitman has not revealed her position on social issues but is likely to run as a fiscal conservative and a social moderate, promoting her financial experience at a time when California is reeling from the financial crisis.
"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. "I refuse to stand by and watch it fail."
Whitman named former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson as her campaign chairman and Republican Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Mary Bono as her co-chairs.
"I think that she will be sort of a classic California Republican who demands that money be spent wisely, and not too much of it, and not more than we have," Wilson said in an interview Monday. "She will definitely be a taxpayer's friend and a friend to the people who create jobs."