September 23, 2009
Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has announced her candidacy for governor of California, ending speculation that continued for months as she sounded out the state's Republicans in talks and polls.
The 53-year-old candidate has a huge advantage over other announced candidates -- she has oodles and oodles of money -- hundreds of millions of it acquired during her tenure at eBay. She recently gave $250,000 to the California Republican Party. Whitman is promising to create private sector jobs while cutting state workers from the state payrolls. In her announcement speech in Republican stronghold Orange County on Tuesday, she criticized "liberal environmentalists" who "may not like jobs or people," according media reports. She, and two other Republican gubernatorial candidates -- former Congressman Tom Campbell and Steve Poizner, the state's insurance commissioner -- face a tough statewide situation of high unemployment, a depleted state treasury, and fleeing businesses and even fleeing citizens. "Honestly, when I talk about spending, I get mad," she said in announcing her candidacy. "I simply cannot understand how even politicians could have let things get so bad." She is seeking to succeed Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who can't seek re-election because of term limits regulations. Her eventual opponent could be former governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, who had served as governor three decades ago. While Whitman drove eBay to the top of the pile of successful Internet firms, she could be asked some pointed questions about her approval of eBay's purchase of Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005. The online auction company has lost money on the deal and Skype's founders, who left the firm after the acquisition, are currently embroiled in bitter litigation involving eBay.
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