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Ueberroth Drops Out of California Gubernatorial Race - 2003-09-10

Trailing in the polls, Republican candidate Peter Ueberroth has dropped out of the race for California governor. The withdrawal leaves two leading Republicans who hope to replace Democratic Governor Gray Davis in a recall election October 7.

Bowing out of the race Tuesday, Mr. Ueberroth called himself a one-note candidate. "And that's jobs," he said. "Well, I make no apology because I am a one-note candidate. Jobs are what's important to California. Californians are going to get it sooner or later that their jobs pay all the bills in Sacramento. They pay for schools, they pay for health care, and they pay the legislators' salaries who are representing them in Sacramento."

Mr. Ueberroth accuses the legislators of driving jobs from the state with policies that are hostile to business.

California is undergoing an economic crisis and is suffering from cutbacks caused by a multi-billion dollar budget deficit.

Mr. Ueberroth is a wealthy businessman who organized the successful 1984 Los Angeles summer Olympics. He also served as commissioner of U.S. major league baseball. But the latest poll by the Field Corporation shows him with just five percent support among likely voters.

Democrat Cruz Bustamante, the state's lieutenant governor, leads with 30 percent support. Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger trailed with 25 percent, and Republican Tom McClintock had 13 percent. Mr. Ueberroth said he had no real chance of winning.

He says he will meet with the major candidates and offer his support to the one he thinks can help create new jobs. He also pledged to work with whomever is in office after the election.

"So I'm going to offer my services to the next Democrat or Republican governor, if he wants or she wants, to be part of a bipartisan group to work on the budget and keep jobs in the state and create new jobs for the state," he said.

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Ueberroth is a moderate Republican. And like the more conservative Mr. McClintock, he has been urged by other Republicans to withdraw, leaving the popular actor-politician with the best chance of winning. The latest poll shows Mr. Schwarzenegger with a slight lead if the remaining prominent Republican drops out. Mr. McClintock refuses to do that, and he is popular with conservatives because he has pledged never to raise taxes.

This week's poll shows that Democratic Governor Gray Davis is still fighting an uphill battle to keep his job. His popularity plummeted because of an energy crisis and a spiraling budget deficit. Fifty-five percent of voters now want him out of office, a slight three-percent improvement for the governor since the last poll.

If more than half the voters choose to remove him, the candidate with highest number of votes will get the job.