Saying he had "no illusions" about the difficulty of unseating a popular governor, state Treasurer Phil Angelides (search) said he's confident he'll win the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006 and beat Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search).

"This isn't going to be a plain, vanilla election — we're not talking about potholes," Angelides said in an interview Monday. "Governor Schwarzenegger and I have a different view of the world, two very different visions of what makes society strong."

Angelides was expected to officially launch his campaign Tuesday. A longtime fixture in California politics, the 51-year-old Angelides has already raised about $12.5 million for the effort.

"The reason I'm doing this early is that the threat this governor presents to California is enormous," Angelides said. "He's hurting teachers, he's hurting nurses — he's going after the very fabric of California's strengths."

Schwarzenegger has not yet announced whether he is running for re-election, but his campaign committee has raised $1 million so far with more fund-raising events planned. He spent Monday evening at a fund-raising dinner in Sacramento.

Angelides isn't the first Democrat in the race. Already, Attorney General Bill Lockyer (search) has said he's running and has raised about $11 million for the race, although he hasn't made an official announcement. Actor-director Rob Reiner (search) has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

Since Schwarzenegger took office 16 months ago, Angelides has arguably been his loudest and most persistent Democratic critic. His role as state treasurer has given Angelides a platform from which to attack Schwarzenegger's fiscal policies.