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Schwarzenegger Facing Difficult Challenges, High Expectations


California's Republican governor-elect, Arnold Schwarzenegger, faces challenges as he prepares to take office, challenges that include working with a Democratic controlled legislature. He promises to bring the parties together when he arrives in the state capital of Sacramento.

California voters removed Democratic Governor Gray Davis by a 10 point margin, and gave Arnold Schwarzenegger an even bigger edge over his closest rival. The actor-businessman ran as an outsider but will soon be on the inside.

In his victory speech Tuesday, he promised to build consensus. "Shall we rebuild our state together, or shall we fight amongst ourselves, create even deeper division and fail the people of California? Well, let me tell you something. The answer is clear. For the people to win, politics as usual must lose," he said,

Governor Davis faced a voter uprising over a massive budget deficit and gridlock in Sacramento. Political scientist Bruce Cain of the University of California at Berkeley says people have high expectations of their next governor, Mr. Schwarzenegger.

"His speech last night was, he was going to represent everybody in California. He's made it pretty clear from his speeches that he's not going to raise taxes, and yet he's facing a $12 billion deficit. He's made it pretty clear that he wants to reach out to Democrats. That's a tall order, to do all those things," he said.

Voters will be watching closely in coming weeks as Mr. Schwarzenegger prepares for office. He needs to build an administration, replacing the heads of 200 state agencies and potentially making thousands of other political appointments.

The political scientist asks, will all appointees be Republicans like Mr. Schwarzenegger, or will any be Independents or Democrats? The answers will suggest the kind of administration he is planning.

His biggest challenge will be working with a Democratic controlled state legislature, which is more liberal on most issues than even the current Democratic governor. In fact, says Republican strategist Allan Hoffenblum, Democrat Gray Davis has a poor relationship with his fellow party members.

"When you have a one-party state, you had an extraordinarily liberal Democratic state legislature and a Democratic governor," he said. "And you had these liberal Democrats say, hey, listen, you're a Democrat, you've got to do it our way, you've got to go our way and were not interested in making any compromises, particularly with the Republicans."

He says recent Republican governors, from Ronald Reagan to Pete Wilson have worked productively with Democratic legislatures and he thinks Mr. Schwarzenegger will do the same.

But analyst Bruce Cain says Arnold Schwarzenegger, known only through his movie persona until recently, is an unknown quantity in Sacramento.

"Many of the Democratic legislators are just scratching their head. They don't know what to make of this," he said. "They don't know how he's going to deal with them. They don't know whether he'll have the patience to sit down during the negotiations or whether he's going to try to use the initiative process to coerce the Democrats into some policies that they might not otherwise go for."

A Democrat who lost the recall race, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, missed out on the state's top job but retains the number two post. He reminded his Democratic supporters that he is in the charge of the state government in the governor's absence, and he says he hopes the next governor will be absent often.

"Arnold, you're very famous for making movies all over the world. I want you to feel free to continue doing that. Go where you like. Feel free to stay as long as you like," he said. "I'll be here keeping an eye on things.

Mr. Schwarzenegger will take office after the election results are officially certified in mid-November. One of the new governor's first orders of business will be preparing a balanced budget for next fiscal year, which is always a daunting task in California.

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