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Candidate Arnold Could Set California Wealth Record
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger disclosed on Sunday that whatever shortcomings he might have as potential governor of California, personal wealth is not among them — he made more than $50 million in two years.
Schwarzenegger’s tax returns, made public at a news conference, showed he earned $31 million in 2000 and paid more than $10 million in state and federal taxes. Income dipped slightly in 2001 to $26.1 million, with $9.3 million paid in taxes.
Asked if the Austrian-born star would be the richest California governor yet, campaign legal counsel Colleen McAndrews said his wealth far surpassed that of past governors Jerry Brown, George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson and of incumbent Gray Davis. “I don’t think any of them have had substantial wealth,” she said.
The “Terminator” actor owns stock in, among other companies, Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca Cola and Roto Rooter and has millions of dollars in municipal bonds and real estate investments.
In his campaign appearances in the run-up to the unprecedented recall vote on Oct. 7, the Austrian-born Republican has insisted he is so rich he cannot be bought.
All 190-plus candidates seeking to replace Davis, a Democrat whose popularity has plummeted due to the state’s energy crisis two years ago and a burgeoning budget deficit now, were required to file financial disclosure statements.
Other hopefuls like columnist Arianna Huffington, businessman Bill Simon and porn publisher Larry Flynt cited investments or holdings in the millions.
Candidates for public office routinely make their tax returns public to show voters they have nothing to hide. Simon was criticized for being reluctant to do so when he ran and lost against Davis two years ago.
Schwarzenegger’s qualifications for the California job were the hot topic of Sunday talk shows.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” she believed Davis could still win the vote now less than two months away.
“I think the governor has a good opportunity to defeat this recall,” said Feinstein, herself a Democrat. “My view is that this recall should be defeated. It’s bad for California.”
Former Republican Gov. Wilson, Davis’s predecessor, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” he thought Davis will be recalled and that Schwarzenegger will be elected governor.
A Time/CNN poll released Saturday found Schwarzenegger would win 25 percent of the vote if the election were held now, 10 points ahead of his closest competitor, the Democratic lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante.
Former Democratic Gov. Brown, currently the mayor of Oakland, told CNN he opposed recalling Davis.
Nonetheless, he said: “If Schwarzenegger has an answer to the (state’s) revenue crisis and he can get the damn criminals off the streets of Oakland, hell, I may vote for him.”
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who himself followed an unlikely trajectory into politics from professional wrestling, advised Schwarzenegger: “Forget agents and studio bosses — now you’re dealing with real predators.”
Some politicians have questioned Schwarzenegger’s abilities due to his ducking of detailed questions about key issues.

San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, a Democrat, predicted tough times ahead. “(Schwarzenegger’s) not going to get a free ride,” Brown told CBS. “He’s not going to be on The Tonight show. He’s going to have to go man-to-man with Gray Davis.”