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Whitman to make Calif. gubernatorial bid official

The former CEO of eBay is expected to officially declare her candidacy for governor of California on Tuesday.

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is expected to officially declare her candidacy for governor of California on Tuesday.

Meg Whitman eBay

Whitman, who has never served an elected public office, will announce her bid for the Republican nomination in 2010 during a speech in Fullerton, Calif. She will reportedly campaign on a platform of cutting state spending by $15 billion and reducing the state's workforce by 17 percent.

Whitman, 53, will become a leading Republican candidate to succeed outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will retire because of term limits.

Whitman stepped down as CEO of eBay in March 2008, a decade after she transformed the company from a tiny auction site to an Internet icon. During her tenure, the company's split-adjusted share price leaped from just over $1 to a 2004 peak of almost $60, before plummeting to a recent price of under $14.

In the past year, the billionaire Internet executive has taken a more high-profile role in the Republican Party. Whitman served as an adviser to Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and endorsed him during a speech at the party's convention in St. Paul, Minn., last year.

Possible primary rivals include State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a former Silicon Valley exec who founded SnapTrack, a cell phone locating company, and sold it to Qualcomm for $1 billion in January 2000. Another GOP rival is expected to be Tom Campbell, a former U.S. congressman and dean of the business school at University of California at Berkeley.

Likely contenders for the Democratic nomination include Attorney General Jerry Brown, who was already governor 30 years ago, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.