|38th Governor of California|
From: November 17, 2003 - January 3, 2011
|Spouse(s)||Maria Shriver (separated)|
Schwarzenegger rose to fame with action movies including Commando, Conan the Barbarian and the Terminator franchise. His on-screen presence was characterised by his large stature, as well as his thick Austrian accent. Once one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, Schwarzenegger has recently returned to acting, following the end of his term as Governor.
After sitting Governor Gray Davis mismanaged electric power deregulation and instituted a new registration tax by executive order, infuriated citizens initiated a petition to place a measure on the ballot to remove him from office. Despite Democratic predictions that the petition would fail, it was delivered to then Secretary of State Kevin Shelley with more than the required number of signatures. In accordance with the law, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante became Acting Governor and called a special election for October 7, 2003.
The election was the first of its kind in United States history. Approximately 180 citizens, from all walks of life, declared candidacy. Schwarzenegger was rumored to be considering a run for office, which was confirmed on an appearance on the NBC TV Tonight Show. Schwarzenegger easily defeated Cruz Bustamante in the election.
After the election was over, Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, 2003, to serve the remainder of Davis' term. After going through a period of sagging in the polls, Schwarzenegger did a strong turnaround and was then reelected by a landslide on November 7, 2006, in California's 2006 gubernatorial election to serve a full term as governor by defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was at that time the California State Treasurer.
Despite being a Republican, he holds some liberal views. He is a supporter of gun control and environmentalism. He is a staunch supporter of a law that mandates the use of Californian taxpayer money to fund stem cell research - which is the cloning and killing of human embryos for experimentation; he is also pro-choice. Arnold officially approved an assisted suicide measure allowing nurses to sedate, dehydrate and starve depressed or confused individuals they consider to be "terminally ill."  (Compare euthanasia.) Governor Schwarzenegger also campaigned against the famous California Proposition 8. He is also married to Maria Shriver, a famous journalist who is a member of the historically liberal Kennedy Family. Because of these and other policies he is often referred to as a "RINO," a "Republican in Name Only" by many conservative Republicans. Other sources have labeled him a "California Republican," meaning that his political policies are conservative but his views on civil liberties lean to the liberal side, reflecting the general attitude of most Californians. During his time as governor, the debt of California continued to balloon, forcing the state to pay IOU's for a period in 2009. Due to the budget crisis's under his tenure, Republicans lost the state to Jerry Brown in the 2010 Gubernatorial election.