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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 03:12 GMT 04:12 UK
Schwarzenegger to run for governor
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger [l] speaks to host Jay Leno during taping of the Tonight Show
Schwarzenegger revealed his plan during a television show taping

Film star Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced he will run as a Republican candidate for governor of California.

Mr Schwarzenegger, best known for his role in the Terminator films, revealed his intention during a taping of the American television programme The Tonight Show, despite widespread speculation that he would not run because of concerns expressed by his wife.

"The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing," he said. "This is why I am going to run for governor."

Current California Governor, Democrat Gray Davis, is facing an unprecedented recall election in October because of his perceived failure to handle the state's spiralling budget deficit.

Dozens of hopeful candidates are lining up to run in the election. However on Wednesday Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein ruled out running for the post, condemning the race as "becoming more and more like a carnival every day".

The news came shortly after television host Jerry Springer announced that he would not run for senator from Ohio.

Mr Springer, a mayor of Cincinnati before he began his TV career, said it had been "a tough decision", but said he could not separate the job from his television show, although he did not rule out trying again in the future.

'Serious problems'

For several years, Mr Schwarzenegger, 56, had been considered running for office in the same post that gave former actor Ronald Reagan his first political role.

Other possible governor candidates
Actor Gary Coleman
Comedian Leo Gallagher
Porn magazine publisher Larry Flynt
Porn star Mary Carey
Columnist Arianna Huffington
Republican congressman Darrell Issa
Billboard model Angelyne

But he was thought to be preparing to pull out of the race because of concerns expressed by his wife, Maria Shriver, niece of Senator Edward M Kennedy, part of the famous Kennedy clan.

At a later conference Mr Schwarzenegger expanded on his reasons for running.

"We have serious problems, businesses are leaving the state, people are leaving the state every day, we have the biggest budget deficit in state history, we have a governor being recalled, we see these things declining and declining," he said.

"California is being run as special interest, politicians are not making moves for the people," he added.

"I will go to Sacramento [the state capital] and I will clean house."

Unusual race

The Austrian-born former Mr Universe first floated the idea of running in 1999, and has since spoken about issues like tax, foreign policy and education.

California Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono, the wife of the late singer Sonny Bono, has been among those urging him to stand.

Mr Schwarzenegger is a firm supporter of conservative economic policies, but is liberal on social issues, pro-choice on abortion and favours gay rights.

The deadline for candidates to lodge their applications is 1700 local time on Saturday.

Adult magazine publisher Larry Flynt has thrown his hat into the ring, campaigning under the slogan "vote for the smut-peddler with a heart".

And 22-year-old porn actress Mary Carey is also running, with a campaign that includes taxing breast implants and swapping guns for X-rated films to reduce violence.




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The BBC's Jeremy Bowen
"He told the voters what he was going to do on a late night chat show"



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