Former Hewlett-Packard Co chief and Silicon Valley star Carly Fiorina said on Wednesday that she would run as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from California, taking on liberal Democrat Barbara Boxer.

Several people who made their names and fortunes as high technology executives are fighting to be on the California ballot next fall, with former eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman and entrepreneur-turned-Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner running for governor as Republicans.

Both Fiorina and Whitman are relative newcomers to politics and face battles to get their party's nominations.

Fiorina was one of the powerful U.S. technology executives and the driving force behind HP's controversial acquisition of Compaq Computer, turning the Silicon Valley pioneer into a behemoth with billions in annual revenue in line with that of IBM.

HP's poor performance resulted in her ouster in 2005 with a $21 million severance package. But she rose to national prominence again as a senior adviser to Republican Party presidential candidate John McCain in the 2008 race.

Fiorina made the Senate announcement in an opinion piece in the Orange Country Register, beginning Admittedly, I have not always been engaged in the electoral process.

She said the main problems she would tackle were too few jobs for Americans and too much spending in Washington. She also warned that health care legislation wending its way through Congress worried her.

Fiorina has survived breast cancer, which she noted. Rather than remaking the entire national health care system at the cost of higher taxes and exploding deficits, we should build on what works, such as expanding access to community clinics that will give those most in need appropriate care at a reasonable price.

A Field Poll in October prior to her announcement showed she had lost an edge against state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore in the race for the Republican nomination. Most Republican voters were undecided, however. Both Republicans trailed Boxer by a double-digit percentage among the general electorate polled.

(Reporting by Peter Henderson, editing by Philip Barbara)