**Steve Poizner Files Papers - Launches Gubernatorial Exploratory Committee**
**Announces Impressive Array of Early Endorsements; Taps Key Campaign Team Members**
Last evening my phone rang -- it was State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner calling to let me know that he has formally decided to run for the Republican nomination for California Governor, and that tomorrow (now today) his campaign would be going down to the California Secretary of State's Office to formally file papers for an Exploratory Committee for Governor.
I just received a call confirming that this has taken place!
I told Commissioner Poizner that while this news was hardly unexpected, that it was certainly exciting, and of course when he told me that FlashReport readers were going to be the very first to officially get the news, I was very pleased!
His formal press release will be coming out soon, but this is the first place that California politicos are getting the news.
Poizner shared with me his reasons for running for Governor, "I am really concerned that California has totally lost its edge competitively.
California used to be the innovation capitol of the world.
Our state has been attracting entrepreneurs and pioneers since its inception -- agriculture, ranching, aerospace, mining, defense, hi-tech, bio-tech...
But this all now being threatened -- not by natural disasters but by political failure.
The business climate in this state is adverse to the very kind of innovation that we need - if we don't turn it around, and recognize that we are in the 21st Century, we are going to lose out on so much potential."
"California has really be great to me," continued Poizner.
I have been able to be successful, and I am not going to stand on the sidelines.
I believe that I am in the best position, by far, to prevent this state from electing a Governor in 2010 who will see our state's business climate worsen.
I have proven skills, and know how to create jobs.
I think that my experience in both the private and public sectors have me well prepared for this challenge."
I asked Poizner why he was announcing now, well over two years before California voters would ultimately be electing their next Governor.
Poizner told me that, "Running for Governor in a state the size of California is a large and complex process.
Forming an exploratory committee is the first step and one I felt I needed to take right away.
I am going to spend the next several months examining and evaluating how to make California live up to her potential, and building up support for my candidacy."
The Campaign Chairman of Poizner's Exploratory Committee is former Senate and Assembly Republican Leader Jim Brulte, a well respected GOP leader and strategist.
Joining Brulte in endorsing Poizner's candidate are the two Republican members of the State Board of Equalization - Bill Leonard and Michelle Steel.
A host of Republican state legislators have endorsed Poizner's bid for Governor... These include State Senators Sam Aanestad, Roy Ashburn, Jim Battin, Bob Dutton, Tom Harman, Bob Margett and George Runner, as well as Assemblymembers Anthony Adams, Joel Anderson, John Benoit, Tom Berryhill, Sam Blakeslee, Bonnie Garcia, Guy Houston, Kevin Jeffries, Alan Nakanishi, Jim Silva, Cameron Smyth, and Van Tran.
Poizner apparently has lined up a slew of other major endorsements, and plans to release them over the coming weeks.
Just the folks that I have listed above, whom the campaign is announcing today, is pretty impressive.
Especially this early.
Poizner confirmed for me that his long-time political director Brian Seitchik would be assuming the role of Campaign Manager for the Exploratory Committee, and that he has retained the firms of Meridian Pacific
(Principals: Matt Rexroad, Tom Ross, John Peschong) and Wilson Miller Communications
(Principals Beth Miller, Marty Wilson) to assist with his efforts.
That's a lot of political fire power.
There will be plenty of time for in-depth political analysis - but there are few points that are worth making right now.
First and foremost, Poizner's announcement today is clearly the next step in a tightly choreographed effort to move into the race and establish front-runner status (which I would say he has done).
It is also a fair bet that Poizner's early entry into the fray is designed to discourage some of the other potential candidates who may seek the Republican nomination from getting into the race...
Poizner is currently riding on a very high note with many GOP donors and volunteer activists because of the critical role he took in assuming the lead against Proposition 93, the term-limits weakening measure placed on last March's ballot by former Speaker Fabian Nunez.
There is no doubt that Poizner's political leadership, and significant personal financial investment, made the difference and ushered in the defeat of 93.
Oh, and for those with inquiring minds.
Poizner's announcing his Exploratory Committee now, while there is a lot in the new about a potential recall attempt of the Governor spearheaded by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, is not a signal that Poizner would run in a recall election.
On the contrary, Poizner opposes such an effort and would support the Governor should that take place.