Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, a 2008 campaign surrogate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), announced Monday she is forming an exploratory committee to run for governor of California.

"After careful consideration and with tremendous loyalty to our Golden State, I have formed an Exploratory Committee, the first step in the process of running for Governor in 2010," Whitman said on her website, which launched Monday morning.

The former eBay executive had fueled speculation she had been planning a run after having resigned from the company last year, and further withdrawing from other corporate obligations in December.

"California faces challenges unlike any other time in its history - a weak and faltering economy, massive job losses, and an exploding state budget deficit," the 52-year-old added. "California is better than this, and I refuse to stand by and watch it fail. Now is the time for people across the state to join in a cause for change, excellence and a new California."

Whitman will look to keep the governorship of the large, populus state in Republican control after current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves office. California Sens. Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (D) have been mentioned as potential Democratic candidates for the job.

Whitman moved quickly to secure support from other Republican lawmakers in the state ahead of a potential primary challenge. Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) were announced as co-chairs of the campaign, and Whitman's site includes the endorsements of former California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) and several state lawmakers.