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SacBee opinion columnist Dan Walters has helped himself to the frenzy surrounding the governor’s race – for 2010.

In a four-year look-ahead, Walters offered a few names that are being hyped for a run at the state’s top office that year.

Among the Republican possibilities, Walters said, are Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, businessman Steve Poizner and … San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Here’s what the columnist had to say:

There are no other Republican show business figures on the horizon to follow in the footsteps of Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, so outside of Sacramento, the GOP’s pickings are especially slim, although San Diego’s new mayor, former Police Chief Jerry Sanders, is a gubernatorial possibility if he straightens out the city’s financial scandal. A new Datamar Inc. poll of San Diego voters gives Sanders, a moderate Republican in the mold of former Mayor and Gov. Pete Wilson, high marks, nearly 80 percent, for tackling the city’s daunting crisis.

Here’s what his headline reads in the SacBee: “With Schwarzenegger Leading, Handicappers Turn to 2010 Lineup.” The San Diego Union-Tribune, a local newspaper, also ran a version of the SacBee columnist’s piece, but with a different headline: “Sanders for governor in 2010?”

For the record, Sanders has not announced whether he will seek the office, or even reelection to the Mayor’s Office in 2008, for that matter.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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