The 56 year-old Austrian born actor revealed his decision to run on a nightime enterntainment program, transforming an essentially local election into a global media event.
Schwarzenegger will run on a Republican ticket and is ratcheting up pressure on besieged incumbent Governor Gray Davis. Positioning himself as an honest and rich outsider competing against a corrupt and inefficient political establishment, Schwarzenegger pledged to lure big business back to crisis-stricken California.
He accused the Davis administration of “fiddling, fuddling and failing”, and says cutting services and hiking taxes won’t be enough to dig the world’s fifth largest economy out of its record $US38 billion dollar ($A58 billion) budget deficit. However Schwarzenegger says he’s still working out the details of how to tackle the ailing state’s problems if he wins the October elections.
His candidacy immediately prompted senior Democrats, including lieutenant governor Cruz Bustamante, to break ranks with Governor Davis and announce they would run against their boss, ending his campaign to be the only Democratic candidate.
But in an increasingly strange gubernatorial race, Schwarzenegger could face competition from pornography mogul Larry Flynt, who has said he will run if polls showed Californians would accept a self-described “smut peddler” as their leader.
Also threatening to stand in the elections are X-rated actress Mary Carey, former TV child star Gary Coleman, a watermelon-smashing comedian called Gallagher and Los Angeles billboard queen, Angelyne.