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Schwarzenegger Denies Pulling Out of Governor Run
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Mr Universe who is pondering a new role as Mr California Politics, has not decided yet whether to run for governor in a special Oct. 7 vote, an aide said on Monday.
The Republican star of the “Terminator” action films had suggested in recent weeks he would run if an unprecedented recall effort against California’s Democratic Governor Gray Davis went forward. But on Monday Fox News television and a Sacramento Bee columnist quoted sources as saying the Austrian-born actor would not seek the position after all.
“There are reports in the media that Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided not to run in the California recall election. These reports are incorrect,” Schwarzenegger’s political adviser George Gorton said in a statement.
“Arnold spent the weekend continuing his due diligence regarding a possible run. He has made no decision at this time. He will continue to weigh the pros and cons with his family and will continue to seek the counsel of supporters and colleagues.”
Media reports speculated that Schwarzenegger’s wife, television news personality Maria Shriver — a member of the nation’s best known Democratic family as niece of former President John F. Kennedy — opposed her husband’s entry into high-profile politics.
The filing deadline for candidates seeking to replace Davis is Aug. 9.
Leading Democrats say they will not run in the Republican-backed recall vote. Among Republicans likely to run are Bill Simon Jr., who lost to Davis just last November. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, who spent $1.7 million of his own money to help qualify the recall petition against Davis, is already running to lead the nation’s richest and most populous state.
The Oct. 7 ballot will ask Californians whether they want to remove Davis, who is unpopular over the state’s record budget deficit, and in a second question, list replacement candidates. If voters recall Davis, the winner of the most votes on the second ballot will become governor.
Although Schwarzenegger has no experience in electoral politics, analysts say he could emerge as the strongest candidate because he could position himself as an outsider running against traditional insider Davis.
Meanwhile, Davis received a boost on Sunday night when the state senate voted to back a compromise $100 billion budget that puts off much of the pain of the current deficit to future years. The assembly is scheduled to vote on the matter this week and Davis has signaled he would sign it if it passed.