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Supporters of California Governor Urge Court to Allow Him on Ballot - 2003-08-04

Supporters of embattled California Governor Gray Davis plan to ask the state's Supreme Court Monday to give Mr. Davis a chance to remain in office, even if voters decide to remove him in a recall vote.

Attorneys for Mr. Davis will argue that the Democratic governor should be allowed to run for his own succession in a special recall election set for October 7. Mr. Davis, now in his second term, is facing the recall as a result of public frustration with California's budget crisis.

Under California's recall law, voters must answer two questions. First, they will decide - by a simple "yes" or "no" vote - whether the governor should be recalled. Second, they will choose a successor to the governor from among a list of candidates. Under current law, the recalled governor's name may not appear on what is called the "succession ballot."

The attorneys will argue that the current law would effectively disenfranchise millions of Californians who support Mr. Davis if he is denied a chance to be on the succession ballot.

Also, the attorneys plan to ask the court to delay the recall election until March 2, the date of California's democratic presidential primary. Political observers believe combining the two elections would boost turnout, giving Mr. Davis a better shot at remaining in office.

It is not clear when the state Supreme Court will issue a ruling.