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New contender in Calif. governor race?

January 6, 2009 7:21:00 AM PST
There may be a new contender in the 2010 California governor's race.Meg Whitman, a former eBay executive and John McCain presidential campaign advisor, stepped down from the boards of eBay, Procter & Gamble and DreamWorks Animation SKG as of Dec. 31.

According to the Associated Press, a person knowledgeable about Whitman's political aspirations says she's clearing her schedule to run for governor and will make an announcement in four to six weeks.

Whitman is one of three Republicans who are considered front-runners in the 2010 California gubernatorial campaign. The others are state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former Rep. Tom Campbell.

The GOP side of the race is wide open. A November Field Poll found that between two-thirds and three-quarters of registered California voters had no opinion of the potential Republican candidates.

But the poll found that Whitman had the highest favorable rating among the three, at 23 percent.

If Whitman were to win the GOP primary, she would face a well-known Democratic opponent in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 13 percentage points.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown, now the state's attorney general, is thought to be the leading Democratic candidate if he decides to run. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also are considered potential Democratic contenders.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is prohibited from running again under the state's term-limits law and will leave office in January 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.