LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seething over taxes and red ink, voters dumped the unpopular Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with political novice Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood action star who now faces the colossal challenge he asked for: jump-starting California's flagging economy.
Davis, the Democrat who presided over California's economy as it careened from boom to bust, was recalled Tuesday less than a year into his second term. According to partial returns, more than 54 percent of voters called for his ouster.
Among the replacement candidates, Schwarzenegger was ahead with 3,436,861 votes, or 47.7 percent of the vote; Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante had 2,344,823 votes, or 32.5 percent; Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock had 949,111 votes, or 13.2 percent; and Green Party candidate Peter Camejo had 204,276 votes, or 2.8 percent.
Barring a legal challenge, Schwarzenegger will be sworn in no later than Nov. 16 to serve out the remaining three years of Davis' term. First the vote must be certified, a process that can take more than a month. He would then be up for re-election in 2006.
Voters also rejected Proposition 54, a contentious initiative that would have banned state and local governments from tracking race in everything from preschools to police work. Voters across the racial spectrum rejected the measure, according to exit polling. Californians also said no to Proposition 53, which would have set aside up to 3 percent of the state budget every year beginning in 2006 to build and rebuild infrastructure.
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