San Diego A day after Arnold Schwarzenegger declared he was running, the man who bankrolled the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis abruptly quit the gubernatorial race Thursday and the state Supreme Court swept aside lawsuits that could have delayed the Oct. 7 vote.
The justices, six Republicans and one Democrat, chose not to enter the politically charged recall arena two weeks after the election was certified. Never before has California's sitting governor been targeted by a voter-driven recall election that qualified for the ballot.
Earlier in the day, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa withdrew in a tearful news conference, saying that Schwarzenegger's decision Wednesday to place his name on the ballot helped assure him enough qualified candidates would seek the office.
"Once it was possible to not have to be the face of the recall, not have to be the candidate if no one else would lead, I now have the opportunity to choose between two directions," he said. "One is my service in Washington, the other was what many people assumed was blind ambition."
Schwarzenegger and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, both Republicans, took out nomination papers Thursday as Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi said they would run to keep the office in the hands of Democrats if Davis is defeated.