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Meg Whitman, eBay billionaire, to run for California governor

Ms. Whitman brings business savvy and oodles of money to her campaign to be the GOP nominee.

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, center, shakes hands with supporters after announcing her candidacy for governor on Tuesday, in Fullerton, Calif.

Cheryl A. Guerrero/AP

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Former eBay CEO and billionaire Meg Whitman’s formal announcement Tuesday that she would run for the Republican nomination for California governor could potentially shake up the GOP side in the state's 2010 gubernatorial race.

Ms. Whitman has reportedly already spent $15 million on her campaign, and on Tuesday she launched a statewide radio ad. She has previously said she could spend as much $150 million on her campaign, putting pressure on the Democratic candidates, especially San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Jerry Brown who is expected to run.

“This raises the specter of a real challenge from the GOP side,” says Jessica Levinson, political analyst for the Center for Governmental Studies.

Political analysts say her assets are many. She is highly personable, has a successful record in business, and has very deep pockets – unlike her opponents in both parties. Whitman, who was national co-chair of Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign last year, has strong support from GOP women.

She also has the support of former Gov. Pete Wilson, her committee chair, who has a political apparatus in place all over the state.

But she has liabilities, too. She has never run for office before, has a poor record of even voting, and has been criticized for being evasive on policy specifics.

Whitman said Tuesday that she would make at least $15 billion in permanent spending cuts. She also said she would put a moratorium on the 2006 law on reducing statewide greenhouse-gas emissions.

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