Confirming the speculation in Sacramento, conservative Sen. Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks has announced he will run for the Board of Equalization in 2010.
In a recent solicitation letter to financial supporters, McClintock writes: "I'm doing all I can to prepare for my campaign for the state's Board of Equalization."
In the fall, he disbanded his 2006 campaign committee left over from his unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor and transferred the balance of the account to a new committee, McClintock Committee 2010. He tells supporters he hopes to raise $800,000 by March.
"Now is not the time to give in," he writes. "I firmly believe California's voters are on the verge of waking up to the leftist extremism that is destroying our state, and they've about had enough of it."
The decision will be a disappointment to some conservatives, who see McClintock has the party's most true-blue potential candidate for governor in 2010. But after having now lost four campaigns for statewide office, it appears McClintock may be scaling back his ambition, or perhaps retrenching in the hope of running for governor in 2014, when he will be 58.
Because Board of Equalization districts were part of the same incumbent-protecting gerrymander that was created for the Legislature and Congress in 2001, they are built to virtually guarantee victory for one party or the other. The district McClintock seeks to represent, a seat now held by Bill Leonard, enjoys a GOP voter registration edge of 3 percentage points. To win the seat, all McClintock will have to do is win the Republican primary -- something at which he has proven to successful in the past.
The decision is good news for Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. Should Poizner, as is widely anticipated, seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2010, it will make his path to the nomination considerably easier if he doesn't have to contend with a high-profile challenge from the right by McClintock.