Looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger has terminated the hopes of California Republicans that he would run for governor in the coming recall election. After months of coyness over whether he'd run, he's expected to make an official statement on Thursday. But NBC News, the Associated Press, and Reuters are reporting that he's all but decided not to run in October's recall election against Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
According to Reuters, GOP consultant Rob Stutzman learned of the actor's decision on Tuesday. ''I had that confirmed late last night,'' he reportedly told Sacramento radio station KTKZ. But party chairman Duf Sundheim said he was waiting to hear from the action hero himself, reportedly telling Fox News, ''I think there is still a chance that he will run.''
''We have stated that we expect him to announce by the end of the week,'' Schwarzenegger campaign consultant Sean Walsh told the AP on Wednesday. ''Nothing has changed. Mr. Schwarzenegger is still leaning against a candidacy at this time.'' EW.com's call to Schwarzenegger's spokeswoman seeking confirmation was not returned by press time.
According to wire service reports, sources close to the actor say he decided against running because the job would take away time from his family life, time he could be spending with his four kids, ages 5 to 14. They also said his wife, NBC correspondent and Kennedy relative Maria Shriver, was against a possible run, more for family reasons than political ones. Schwarzenegger himself said in May, ''She has to give the green light and feel comfortable with it because she moved away from Washington to get away from all that kind of stuff.''
In any case, Schwarzenegger's absence would deprive Republicans of a candidate who, if the race were decided on name recognition alone, had the best chance to beat Davis. Instead, Republicans are likely to field Bill Simon, who lost to Davis in the general election last year. Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan has also hinted he may run. Candidates have until Aug. 9 to declare their intentions.