Tech Tycoons to Battle for California's Top Job

Silicon Valley vet Steve Poizner preparing to take on Whitman in GOP primary
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2009 6:45 AM CDT
Tom Campbell, left, and Steve Poizner argued over solutions to closing a projected state budget deficit during a debate held by the Sacramento Press Club in Sacramento, Calif.    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Ex-eBay boss Meg Whitman is the early favorite to win the GOP nomination for California governor but another tech billionaire is looking like an increasingly serious contender, the Wall Street Journal reports. Silicon Valley veteran Steven Poizner is currently third, behind former Congressman Tom Campbell, but his pockets are much deeper than Campbell's and analysts predict Poizner will surge in the polls when he starts splashing out on ads.

Poizner made his fortune in tech startups and sold cellphone GPS developer SnapTrack for $1 billion in 2000. Poizner, the state's elected insurance commissioner, has criticized Whitman for having too little political experience—and Campbell for having too much. "People don't want a career politician," he says. Analysts say Poizner's business experience could sway some GOP voters in the race to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger, but conservative voters are wary of him and he is widely seen as lacking charisma.