SUNNYVALE, CA - APRIL 27: Former eBay CEO and Republican candidate for California governor Meg Whitman gestures as she speaks to members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group at the Yahoo! headquarters April 27, 2009 in Sunnyvale, California. Meg Whitman is campaigning well ahead of the November 2010 election for governor of California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Whitman formally announced her bid for the 2010 Republican nomination. She also outlined some of her campaign themes during a speech in Fullerton, Calif.
The billionaire's announcement hardly come as a surprise. Even though she has been absent at many events where other candidates (even another non-declared candidate) have been stumping, Whitman has poured $19 million of her own money into her exploratory committee and has had a campaign staff and public speaking engagements for months.
Over the past year, Whitman has been pretty active in the Republican scene. She served as an adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and endorsed him in a speech at last year's convention in St. Paul, Minn. He later returned the favor, saying she "has the right credentials to restart California's economic engines."
Her rivals for the GOP nomination also have been making news as the convention approaches, a strategy intended to court favor with the conservatives who dominate party conventions.
State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner unveiled a proposal last week to reduce personal, corporate and sales taxes by 10 percent and cut the capital gains tax in half, which he says will promote job growth and thus lead to higher state revenue.
Former Congressman Tom Campbell released a health care proposal he said would provide insurance coverage for an additional 2 million Californians without any additional costs.
Whitman, who switched her voter registration from decline-to-state to Republican in 2007, has been criticized for failing to provide policy details.
Poizner, a wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has charged that she is trying to buy her way into the Republican Party. His campaign has launched an anti-Whitman Web site they call MegaDuck2010. She's afraid to face tough questions, Poizner maintains.
Whitman said she wants to cut state spending by another $15 billion and reduce California's existing state work force by 17 percent, even as the state has wrestled with budget shortfalls in recent years that have led to deep cuts in education and other core programs.
"If elected ... I'll eliminate redundant and underperforming government agencies and commissions," she said in prepared remarks. "And I will reduce the state work force by at least 40,000 employees."
Whitman also restated her goal of creating 2 million private-sector jobs by 2015. She said she can do so by lowering taxes and eliminating regulations that conservatives say limit growth in California. Until now, she has emphasized reducing spending over cutting taxes as a priority.
Whitman's campaign rollout will include a statewide radio ad promoting her business experience, most recently her role at eBay.
Attorney General Jerry Brown who has not officially declared his candidacy, is also expected to be on the ballot as a Democratic contender. Brown was the state's governor from 1974-1983. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who's also running, recently gained the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton.