Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided not to run for Governor of California, robbing the recall election of any Hollywood glitz.
A Republican Party spokesman confirmed yesterday that Mr Schwarzenegger, now appearing on US cinema screens in one of his most famous incarnations, the Terminator, had ceded to pressure from his family. He may also have been deterred by the relish with which his political opponents threatened to hurl dirt at him.
Mr Schwarzenegger was expected to make a formal announcement later in the day, his 56th birthday.
But his withdrawal does not end the theatrics surrounding October's unorthodox election, in which California's voters will be asked if they want to recall the Democratic Governor, Gray Davis, who was re-elected to a second four-year term in November, and if not who they want to replace him. A Republican-led drive garnered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, and Mr Davis will be fighting to keep his job.
The most prominent Republican challenger is now Richard Riordan, 73, a former mayor of Los Angeles who tried and failed to unseat Mr Davis in last year's scheduled gubernatorial race. Also in the running will be Bill Simon, a politically inexperienced Republican businessman who also performed dismally against Mr Davis last year.
On the Democrat side, several prominent party members have urged Dianne Feinstein, a California representative, to run in the recall election so that Democrats would have someone to vote for if Mr Davis were to be booted out. Candidates have until 9 August to put themselves forward.
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