Pornographer Flynt joins wacky race to lead California

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The pornographer Larry Flynt joined the growing list of candidates vying to replace Gray Davis as the governor of California yesterday in what is becoming an increasingly farcical election.

Mr Flynt, the publisher of Hustler magazine, told the Los Angeles Times: "California is the most progressive state in the union. I don't think anyone here will have a problem with a smut peddler as governor."

Mr Flynt, who survived an assassination attempt in the late 1970s, is the latest of more than 200 candidates who have taken out papers for the recall election, scheduled for early October. With one week to go before the filing deadline, none of the major political players have formally declared their bids. But dozens of ordinary people have put themselves forward to lead the richest state in the US.

There is a Michael Jackson, though not the famous singer. There is also a Bob Dole, a San Francisco-area Republican unrelated to the former presidential candidate.

Mr Flynt's candidacy is not as wacky as it appears. He is active in Democrat fundraising circles and has always taken an interest in politics. His suggestion for digging California out of its record-breaking budgetary hole is to expand gambling through the state.