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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
California's colourful candidates
As celebrities, columnists and a handful of practised politicians battle it out in the hope of securing the governorship of America's most populous state, BBC News Online looks at some of the more colourful characters standing in the California recall elections.

Larry Flynt press conference
Larry Flynt believes voters can look past the porn
Larry Flynt - The porn publisher and champion of free speech is seen as one of the more unusual entrants, but Mr Flynt, a registered Democrat, has long taken an interest in politics. "I honestly think that Californians wouldn't mind having a smut peddler who cares as governor,'' is his hope.

He intends to battle the state's massive budget deficit by expanding legal gambling.

Mr Flynt has been in a wheelchair since a failed attempt on his life several years ago.

Leonard Padilla - A bounty hunter who says he learned about key issues such as drug trafficking and immigration during his year in a federal prison, which he sees as being priceless experience.

Mary Carey - Another candidate from the porn industry, the 22-year-old actress wants to tackle violence by swapping guns for sex films and raise money by taxing breast implants.

She regards herself as a serious candidate.

Gary Coleman
Coleman still holds a place in the hearts of Diff'rent Strokes fans
Gary Coleman - The former child actor, now a 35-year-old security guard, made his name in the hit US comedy Diff'rent Strokes as the character Arnold.

Despite his subsequent failed career, Generation X'ers still have a soft spot in their hearts for the diminutive Coleman, whose fees to participate in the race were paid for by a local newspaper.

Angelyne - The self-styled queen of Hollywood is more famous for her physical assets - which can be viewed on billboards across the state - than her acting prowess.

She intends to improve roads in order to avoid damage to her trademark pink sports car, and wants more honesty in politics.

Leo Gallagher - The melon-smashing comedian says he will use military helicopters to airlift cars involved in accidents off motorways, and to arrest anyone making loud mobile phone calls. He carries a big mallet.

Mary Carey
Mary Carey has called for "porno-to-pistol" swaps to reduce violence

Georgina Russell - The software consultant is promoting her campaign with a thong sporting the logo Georgy for Governor. Those with more modest tastes can opt for a mug.

The 26-year-old believes that her "brains, beauty and leadership" will make up for her lack of experience.

Michael Jackson - The 39-year-old unknown electrical engineer is hoping to make the most of his name.

Ned Roscoe - The owner of the national Cigarettes Cheaper! discount chain is courting smokers - a group he considers to be an afflicted minority in the state, where smoking is banned in indoor public places, including bars.

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