Date: 23rd July 2003

Arnie mulls over candidacy

Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger was on Tuesday pondering whether he will stand for California governor.
California officials have verified nearly half the votes needed to force a recall vote against Democrat Gray Davis, the first time in California history that an incumbent's position has been threatened.

Davis has been recalled because of his handling of the state's spiralling budget deficit.

Schwarzenegger, 56, has long been rumoured to be preparing to run as a Republican candidate for the state's governor.

"I'm trying to encourage him to run," California Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono, the wife of the late singer Sonny Bono, said.

"In my mind we need to fix this and do what is best for the state of California and that is getting behind a candidate who can win first of all and who can turn the state around," she said.

"The only person I see on the horizon with that ability is Arnold Schwarzenegger."

The secretary of state's office said they had counted 398,558 signatures to recall - or depose Davis - out of the required 897,158 needed to force a new election.

Officials said they had received 990,393 signatures. If Davis is recalled, new elections could be held as early as September.

The line-up of potential Republican candidates already includes US Congressman Darrell Issa, who has bankrolled much of the campaign to have Davis recalled.

Schwarzenegger recently said he was delaying a decision over whether to run until after finishing the promotion for Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines.

The film, which sees the action star return to his most famous role after a gap of 12 years premiered in London this week, and opens on 3 August in the UK.

Source: Press Release