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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 August, 2003, 03:23 GMT 04:23 UK
Arnie joins official California race
Arnold Schwarzenegger registers as a candidate
Schwarzenegger wants to terminate Gray Davis' career
Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has registered to take part in a special election in California, which will decide whether to replace Governor Gray Davis.

The Austrian-born actor was the most prominent of more than 100 candidates who had formally put their names on the ballot by the Saturday deadline.

The 7 October election was called over a crisis in Californian state finances, and amid growing dissatisfaction with the Democratic governor's handling of it.

Although Mr Schwarzenegger is a political novice, opinion polls suggest he would easily win the election if it was held now.

A crowd of supporters greeted the 56-year-old film star as he arrived at the Los Angeles County recorder's office to register his name.

Vague

Mr Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed autographs and shook hands before filing his candidacy and paying the $3,500 fee.

He has been vague about his campaign platform, but described himself as an economic conservative and a social moderate.

"Kitty Lou" turned up to file on behalf of the "Drag Queen Party"
The other candidates who registered on Saturday included Arianna Huffington, a political commentator and environmentalist.

She criticised Mr Schwarzenegger for turning up in a four-wheel-drive instead of a more eco-friendly vehicle.

Senior Republicans candidates include businessman Bill Simon, and Peter Ueberroth, a former baseball commissioner who brought the 1984 Olympics to Los Angeles.

Mr Davis had sought to prevent fellow Democrats from entering the race.

However Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, did file candidacy papers.

But another prominent Democrat, state insurance commissioner John Garamendi, who had earlier said he would run, chose not to do so.

The exact number of candidates is expected to be announced on Sunday.

Colourful v Gray

A slew of more colourful characters have also put their names forward.

A man calling himself "Kitty Lou" turned up in a skin-coloured body suit and a wig to file candidacy papers on behalf of his "Drag Queen Party".

California Governor Gray Davis
Gray Davis is determined to fight for his job
Another candidate, billboard girl Angelyne, has spoken out against city road works, which she says have damaged her pink Corvette.

Erotic film star Mary Carey and adult magazine publisher Larry Flynt are vying for the porn vote.

Governor Davis, who is fighting to defeat the recall, said on Saturday that most of his rivals were short on substance.

"Snappy one-liners only get you so far," he said.

"It is tough work to pull people together on a common ground and move to higher ground."

Mr Davis needs to win at least 50% of the recall vote to remain in office.

If he fails, the candidate who wins most vote will become governor.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's David Willis
"Candidates include a pornographer, a 70s TV star and a comedian"



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