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CA-Gov: Whitman's In


Former eBay president Meg Whitman took a first step to running for California governor today.

Former eBay president Meg Whitman took the first step in a run for governor of California in 2010, a move that sets up a Republican primary fight with state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner expected to break all spending records for a political race in the Golden State.

"California faces challenges unlike any other time in its history -- a weak and faltering economy, massive job losses, and an exploding state budget deficit. California is better than this, and I refuse to stand by and watch it fail," Whitman said in a statement announcing the formation of an exploratory committee that will allow her to raise funds for a bid.

She also announced that former California Gov. Pete Wilson would serve as the chairman of the campaign while Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) will serve as co-chairs.

On the staff side, Whitman has attracted high level talent -- reflective of the national profile of California races not to mention Whitman's significant personal wealth -- that borrows from a number of the GOP presidential campaigns of 2008 including those of Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (A full staff list is available on Whitman's Web site.)

Scott Howell & Company will handle the campaign's ads -- a critical element in a state as large as California with a candidate as unknown as Whitman -- while John McLaughlin and David Hill will be a dual-headed polling operation.

Poizner, who was clearly expecting this announcement, released a statement within moments of Whitman's formation of a exploratory committee.

"Campaigns are about differences and we look forward to Meg Whitman and other Republican candidates joining Steve Poizner in a vigorous discussion about who has the hands-on experience, innovative ideas and conservative instincts to save California," said communications director Kevin Spillane.

The prospect of a Whitman-Poizner primary should set any true political junkie's heart aflutter given their massive personal wealth and the ever-growing price of an unknown candidate running for political office in California. (We rated the Poizner-Whitman race as the third best primary in the country in our most recent Friday Line.)

Self funding candidates have a decidedly mixed record in California politics. Then Rep. Michael Huffington spent nearly $30 million in his unsuccessful challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 1994 and Al Checchi dropped nearly $40 million in an unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial primary bid in 2002.

Whitman, who first signed on with eBay in 1998, is the 361st richest person in America with a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes. Poizner sold his business to Qualcomm in 2000 and is estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars.

With so much personal money between the two of them, it seems a foregone conclusion that the primary -- and a potential general election matchup against Feinstein -- would shatter all previous spending records in the state.

And, given the size and influence of California nationally, if either Poizner or Whitman managed to win next fall either one would be a major player in national Republican politics heading into 2012 and beyond.

In short: It's a great day to be a political junkie.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 9, 2009; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Comments

I would have to say Whitman is significantly not as described. I would give her a Negative maybe a Neutral. I am not excited nor delighted about her campaign.

Anyone considering voting for Whitman should learn as much as possible about her role in the eBay policies that are now damaging and in some cases destroying small eBay sellers.

Whitman and her chosen successor, former Bain & Company colleague John Donahoe's "ehnancements" to eBay have harmed more small eBay sellers than they have helped.

Finally - I encourage the media to investigate Whitman's claim that "1.3 million Americans are making a living on eBay". That is nearly impossible after all the bad management decisions at eBay made by Whitman and Donahoe.

Posted by: mprichter | February 13, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I would have to say Whitman is significantly not as described. I would give her a Negative maybe a Neutral. I am not excited nor delighted about her campaign.

Anyone considering voting for Whitman should learn as much as possible about her role in the eBay policies that are now damaging and in some cases destroying small eBay sellers.

Whitman and her chosen successor, former Bain & Company colleague John Donahoe's "ehnancements" to eBay have harmed more small eBay sellers than they have helped.

Finally - I encourage the media to investigate Whitman's claim that "1.3 million Americans are making a living on eBay". That is nearly impossible after all the bad management decisions at eBay made by Whitman and Donahoe.

Posted by: mprichter | February 13, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Whitman is a billionare anymore. A multi-millionare yes, but a billionare no. E-Bay stock has dropped considerably. Not to mention the fact that if Whitman owns $500,000,000 of E-Bay stock, after the capital gains taxes she is worth less than that. I'm not sure of the tax rate on $500,000,000, but I'm certain it's hefty. We know that Poizner has the liquid assets to run a great race in Cali. He won a tough primary in 2006 and then beat out the state's lt. Gov. Bustamante in the general. Not to shabby. Poizner has governed moderately and thoughtfully, but has the support of quite a bit of the conservative movement in California. Also, one must wonder if Schwarzanegger will endorse Poizner, the only other statewide elected politician in Cali. I know Whitman will have lots of money to spend, but so does Poizner. Plus, Poizner already has good name recognition and a platform of gov't. & business success. Whitman only has business success & political failure, working with McCain's campaign which lost Cali. by a large margin. Steve Poizner is the best candidate for the job.

Posted by: reason5 | February 10, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Meg running for Governor contradicts the interview she gave last week. Here's the clip I found on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jePZf_9GYiQ

Posted by: eastcoastvegas | February 10, 2009 3:41 AM | Report abuse

Gee..a right wing Mormon businesswoman that ran her company into the ground by alienating her best customers. Just what California needs...not!

Posted by: MarcMyWords | February 9, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm very skeptical. Carly from HP landed with a thud. EBay isn't doing all that well these days.

If John Doerr ran, he'd win by a landslide.

He's an incredibly smart guy who's viewed by many people in business as certainly the best Venture Capitalist in the world today, and maybe even the best ever.

He's probably way too smart to consider running for Gov, and Obama's already tapped him as a close advisor.

But if he decided to run he wouldn't find any shortage of support.

He's a great manager, leader, and board member, and he's funded more of Silicon Valley's most successful and most admired companies than anybody.

Nobody else even comes close.

He's simply amazing.

He's one of Silicon Valley's hometown hero's.

Posted by: svreader | February 9, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, a horrible economy and we get to read about the super-rich grabbing for more power so they can dole-out breadcrumbs to the masses while stepping all over them to advance their political careers and stroke their egos. Party affiliation doesn't matter, really. The three big players named in this article are all elitists. With all of the charity balls, photo ops, opulent get-aways, cheating on their spouses, and cheating on their taxes, I have to ask - where do they find the time to run for office?

Posted by: JHG_sec405 | February 9, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

They guys at Google will run for the Democratic nomination or else they will loose. Mayor Antonio, Willie Brown or Mayor Newsom? Please!

Posted by: kenpasadena | February 9, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I am hoping that FINALLY, all of eBay's dirty laundry will be picked over by the Mainstream Media. It's about time they faced major scrutiny.

And believe me, there is PLENTY of dirty laundry at eBay. Plenty.

Meg's gonna get hung out to dry...

Posted by: mavisdarling | February 9, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

So another Republican announces that she can cure the financial crisis, based upon her resume. Her announcement includes NO solutions, other than her resume to cure the financial problems of the state. She is just another Wall Street robber baron that wants to lead the lemmings over the cliff into the Republican-Bush depression.

Posted by: lynnlm | February 9, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

No matter how big California's problems are, it's not going to elect a rightwing republican. Just ain't gonna happen. Especially not one that's affiliated with the unpopular former gov, Pete Wilson.
************************************************************************************

Wilson is not unpopular.
His administeration saved our economy and brought us back solidly into the black budget wise.
ALL Calif.'s problems began with his replacement by Grey Davis- later Schwarzeneger- and this legislature we have been saddled with.

Posted by: WilliamBlake | February 9, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

CA POLS: Save mavisdarling's post.

It's the basis for a powerful assault on her bona fides.

And he doesn't even mention eBay taxation issues.

********************************************

CALIFORNIA BAD-DREAMIN'... Golden State a haven for government-supported "community stalking" by Gestapo-like citizen patrols who harass and allegedly torture their "targeted" neighbors?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 9, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Does the new Governor of Calif. have pass a political correctness test first?


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law;

SB 777-the goal of which is described by it supporters as follows:

"The achievement of a totally integrated society and calls upon Americans to eliminate, by statute and practice, barriers of---gender, sexual orientation---and genetic characteristics--- that prevent some individuals, adult or juvenile, from exercising rights enjoyed by others, including liberties decreed in common law, the Constitution, and the statutes of the United States."
Every child is entitled to a safe and positive school climate that provides for the emotional safety of the students; supports and recognizes each person's efforts to achieve his/her full potential; and provides the social and cultural acceptance every individual needs for high self-esteem."

In other words Eugenics is back and legal in Calif. "eliminate, by statute and practice, barriers of---gender, sexual orientation---and genetic characteristics"
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2009/feb/08/trying-14-year-old-as-an-adult-does-not-serve/


"Mom and Dad" as well as "husband and wife" effectively have been banned from California schools under a bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who with his signature also ordered public schools to allow boys to use girls restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa, if they choose.
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58130

Mom & Dad, Husbund and wife saved from being directly outlawed in Calif.-
http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/Schwarzenegger_education_/2008/01/11/63761.html

Posted by: WilliamBlake | February 9, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"In short: It's a great day to be a political junkie."

And a terrible day to be a Californian. All the money these two idiots are going to waste could be used in a lot better places. Meg Whitman sucks and ebay is and always has been a terrible company.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | February 9, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

blarg:

Good one. How about "She's no Mary Carey"?

Posted by: mnteng | February 9, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

for sure....don't forget Mary Bono Mack.
Sonny passes away, and she's in.
No matter that they have no experience in politics--hell, they are the WIFE, so of course, they are qualified!!!

so far.....this is the newest version
5 . American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Amendment in Senate)[H.R.1.AS2]

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Steve Poizner is head and shoulders above all the other possible contenders for the job, including Ms. Whitman. Ms. Whitman’s performance at the Republican convention last year was disappointing to say the least. Poizner’s resume is as diverse and relevant as any candidate and he has the intelligence, vision and leadership skills needed at a critical time in the state’s history. I am a lifelong Democrat but there is no doubt in my mind Poizner is the guy for the job.

Posted by: nicholaslerek | February 9, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the when former Amway head and prominant Rep. Dick DeVos ran for Gov of Michigan. Wow creating an economy where you sell crappy products to each other instead of producing things of value. CA. can do better.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | February 9, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The other obvious thing is that this woman is, umm, no Ahnold, to put it nicely. She is really scary looking, even for a republican.

Posted by: drindl | February 9, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

As a (former) eBay Power Seller, let me tell you that eBay is the most corrupt corporation I've ever done business with. There is RAMPANT fraud on the eBay site and nothing is ever done about it. Don't believe their *spin* if they tell you otherwise. I was an eBay seller for over five years; I know what I'm talking about.

Added to the rampant fraud is the absolutely TOTAL lack of customer service on eBay. And I do mean NONE. You will never get a straight answer from an *actual person* about anything.

If Meg Whitman thinks being associated with one of the worst-managed, most fraudulent corporations on the face of the earth is a GOOD thing, she is sadly mistaken.

eBay could have made money during the Whitman years if Mickey Mouse had been running it. She just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Posted by: mavisdarling | February 9, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

She's no Gary Coleman.

Posted by: Blarg | February 9, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Now that I know Ebay is run by Republicans, I'll make sure to give them less of my business.

Posted by: kenonwenu | February 9, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

She took her first, and probably last, step in her "run for Governor." Not a serious candidate. Maybe California Secretary of Tupperware Sales?

Posted by: Tess6 | February 9, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, if she's tapping people from MittWitt's and McInsane's campaigns, score her feedback a big minus.

OTOH, a Westly vs. Whitman governor's race would be about right, since the only California will ever get out of its hole it to auction it off piece by piece on eBay anyway...

Posted by: Tannim123 | February 9, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | February 9, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

In any sane world Whitman would have been sent to the duck pit.

Posted by: Canonera | February 9, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

According to Meg Whitmans wikipedia site, she has long since fallen off of the Forbes richest Americans list. She lost over half of her net paper wealth. Reporters need to get their background right. She is not a billionaire, and in fact, there is some question as to whether she has liquid assets for this big race. A brief google search suggests that Meg Whitman is more like a 500millionaire based on her stock sales through 2007. Check out ebays stock price today and tell me she is a billionaire. She is a fraud.

Posted by: jacksend1968 | February 9, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The Fix has missed the other interesting angle to this race. Former State Controller Steve Westly, who ran against Phil Angelides for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination last term, is rumored to be considering another try. Steve is a former Senior VP of eBay (he predated Whitman's arrival at the company by a good bit). You could have two former eBay execs in the two primaries, with the prospect of an all-eBay fight in the general election.

Posted by: FairlySpoken | February 9, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Meg Whitman?

The CEO who decided that ebay was a disassociated venue to avoid the responsibilities of being an auctioneer, and claimed to be an auctioneer when pressed to account for itself as a venue.

Maybe when she sees how by much she will have lost by, Meg Whitman might finally consider the relationship between cause and effect when all those California ebay sellers, of which I was one, would rather vote for anyone else on the planet.

None of us who had problems were ever even acknowledged, let alone dealt with in any rational fashion. she was answerable only to stockholders and treated sellers as second class participants with no rights whatsoever. Oh yeah, we are going to be spending taht ebay seller vote on Meg Whitman real soon.

You do realize that under Meg Whitman, ebay never even had a phone number for their customers to reach them. Name another company that did that.Are you going to have unlisted government numbers, too?


Then there was Meg's attempt to try to legally claim that sellers who had an article on ebay owed ebay in perpetuity for the sale of that item.
If your teapot didn't sell on ebay and you sold it elsewhere 6 month later, her goons claim that they had a right to a commission on it. And if a seller bought some spoons from you on ebay, and a year later you privately sold them some matching forks ebay claimed the right to commission on that too.

This is who you'd want making state policy?

First she ruined a great venue, then she and her bunch pillaged it and left.
When the the same public that is incensed over CEO greed sees how much she soaked ebay for the outcome is hardly going to be in ending up in votes for Meg Whitman.

Just how clueless can the California GOP be
Oh, wait. I forgot who is governor now.

-gala1

Posted by: gala1 | February 9, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

No matter how big California's problems are, it's not going to elect a rightwing republican. Just ain't gonna happen. Especially not one that's affiliated with the unpopular former gov, Pete Wilson.

Posted by: drindl | February 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

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