Former Haas School of Business Dean Tom Campbell is on the campaign trail to become the next governor of California.
Campbell, who is described as a moderate Republican, filed the papers that typically indicate the beginning of a gubernatorial campaign July 1, the day his term as dean ended.
While official declarations of candidacy for the 2010 election cannot be filed until 2009, Campbell filed papers to form a committee to explore the option of running for governor.
Campbell began his tenure as dean at the Haas school in 2002. Though colleagues said that he helped shape the school into a top institution during his tenure, they acknowledged that the job description for dean of a business school is different than that of the top state official.
But while this marks Campbell's first attempt at the governor's seat, he has more than 12 years of experience in holding public office.
From 1989-93, Campbell represented California's 12th District in the U.S. Congress. In 1992 he ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate, but lost the Republican primary to Bruce Herschensohn, who lost the general election to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Campbell ran for the Senate again in 2000 and won the Republican nomination, but lost the election by nearly 20 percentage points to Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Campbell continued his political career in the California State Senate from 1993-95, then returned to Congress to represent California's 15th District from 1995-2001.
Campbell was appointed director of the California Department of Finance and served from 2004-05.
Given Campbell's background, some of his colleagues said they suspected he would return to politics after his term as dean ended and were not surprised to learn of his intent to begin a campaign for governor.
"We knew that in his heart of hearts what he really wanted to do was get back into politics," said James Lincoln, Haas' former associate dean for academic affairs and faculty chair, Campbell's second-in-command at the business school.
Though a Democrat himself, Lincoln said he believes Campbell is a strong leader with a clean political record.
"He's got a lot of credibility," Lincoln said. "He's a total straight arrow. He's as clean as clean can be."
Lincoln said that based on conversations with Campbell, the former dean seems to be optimistic about winning in the Republican primary as a moderate.
"I think if he did get the nod from the Republicans, he'd be a fairly formidable contender," he said.