BOSTON (AP) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has reached a deal to buy a home in southern California.

The unsuccessful Republican presidential contender is closing at the end of the month on a property in La Jolla, just north of San Diego, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom confirmed Saturday.

While California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is term-limited and must leave office after 2010, the spokesman denied any political positioning. Romney finance chairwoman Meg Whitman, the former chief executive of eBay, is also reported to be considering her own campaign for California governor.

“Gov. Romney has been looking at property on the West Coast because he has family in California, and because his wife, Ann, spends a good deal of time there riding horses,” Fehrnstrom said.

One of Romney’s five sons, Matt, lives outside San Diego, while son Josh lives in Salt Lake City.

Romney also owns homes in Belmont, Mass., Wolfeboro, N.H., and Deer Valley, Utah. He and his wife are in Sedona, Ariz., this weekend, visiting with Sen. John McCain as the GOP nominee-in-waiting considers a running mate.

Also on the trip are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, also thought to be on McCain’s list of potential running mates.

Romney and Whitman have been among McCain’s most active fundraisers, corralling the governor’s former supporters for an event on behalf the senator earlier this month in Houston. Romney is also hosting President Bush at his Utah home on Friday for an event benefiting McCain.

In addition, Romney is staging a fundraiser for the senator in Boston on June 11, McCain said last week.

Earlier this week, Romney announced he was forming the Free and Strong America PAC so he can travel the country and donate to like-minded Republicans. While Romney has professed support for McCain in this fall’s general election, his activities would also support a repeat campaign by him if McCain were to lose and Romney decided to run for president again in 2012.

AP-ES-05-24-08 1618EDT

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