September 28th, 2009
09:50 AM ET
5 years ago

Can tech personalities break into politics?

Can Meg Whitman move from a successful career in Silicon Valley to the world of rough-and-tumble politics?
Can Meg Whitman move from a successful career in Silicon Valley to the world of rough-and-tumble politics?

FULLERTON, California (CNN) - Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger have both done it. So did astronaut John Glenn and basketball great Bill Bradley. Even Jesse Ventura was able to capitalize on a wrestling career as a way to leap into the political ring.

But what about a tech geek?

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman wants to move into politics with a run for the job of governor of California in 2010. In doing so, she is, in effect, trying to prove that high-tech personas have become mainstream and trusted enough to take up political office. Although movie stars and astronauts have paved routes from fame to politics, tech moguls largely have not broken into major elected offices.

To make things all the more dramatic, one of Whitman's main opponents, Steve Poizner, is also a Silicon Valley mogul.

Whitman is not the first successful person from the tech world to attempt a leap into politics, but she is perhaps the most well-known, said Mark Z. Barabak, a political writer at the Los Angeles Times. Less famous tech personalities have run for lower offices in California and have had some success, he said.

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Filed under: Meg Whitman