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Terminator rehearses for governor

Sacramento, July 17 (AP): Arnold Schwarzenegger is displaying formidable fund-raising skills as speculation mounts he is planning to make a bid to replace governor Gray Davis in a recall campaign.

In twin Terminator 3 events last month, Schwarzenegger used his star power to help raise $421,000 to erase campaign debts from an after-school programmes initiative he championed, records show.

Political analysts say the feat could serve him well if he decides to run for Davis’ job.

“If there were a looming campaign debt, that might be a distraction from a gubernatorial campaign. By settling that debt, he removes the distraction and demonstrates his fund- raising ability,” said John Pitney, a government professor at the Claremont McKenna College.

The $463,092 debt stems from an education initiative launched by Schwarzenegger called ‘Citizens for After School Programmes, yes on proposition 49,’ which pushed for state money for before and after-school programmes.

Voters approved the initiative in November.

Groups pushing to oust Davis say they’ve turned in 1.6 million signatures from recall petitions, almost twice the number necessary, and are hoping officials will certify a fall election as early as next week.

George Gorton, Arnold Schwarzenegger's political advisor and the campaign manager of his education initiative, said none of the money collected at last month’s two Terminator 3 fund-raising premiers will go to the recall effort or a potential Schwarzenegger campaign.

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