The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Arnie good at guessing game

Los Angeles, July 28: During his long reign as Hollywood’s favourite action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for what industry insiders called “The Arnold Sweepstakes.”

The movie muscleman revelled in putting Hollywood on hold — making A-list producers, directors and writers wait until the last moment before green-lighting one project or another.

Suddenly, California politicians are getting a taste of that Hollywood waiting game. A string of potential candidates in the state’s October 7 recall election are keeping crucial decisions on hold while Schwarzenegger — perhaps relishing the sort of attention he enjoyed in his prime — contemplates whether or not to make a run at the governor’s office.

The decision could come any time, but some of Schwarzenegger’s key political advisers, most of whom spoke on condition that they not be identified, are telling him to wait until as close as possible to the filing deadline, August 9 at 5 pm, before revealing his decision. Said one strategist: “He gets the waiting thing.”

“The longer he waits to file and engage in this, the better off he is,” said the strategist. “As soon as you get out there, the full weight of targeting and opposition research is then brought to bear.”

Stalling might also keep big-name Democrats, like senator Dianne Feinstein, less time to reconsider their current position that they will not run to replace Davis. Even though he ranked behind former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan as a recall candidate in recent polls, Schwarzenegger tilts the California political universe like no other candidate because of his outsize public persona, big bank account and ability to draw media attention from around the world.

But the potential advantages of a delayed announcement are countered by considerable pressure from other quarters — a wife who appears to want Schwarzenegger to stay out of the race and fellow Republicans who want an answer now.

Long-time Republican strategist Allan Hoffenblum said stalling could hurt other Republicans and the party’s attempt to retake the governor’s office, particularly if Schwarzenegger dallies, then drops out.

So far, the Republicans who publicly have said they will run are all from the party’s more conservative wing — opponents of abortion and most gun control measures and advocates of major efforts to shrink the size of government. Members of the party who consider themselves centrist are anxious to have some representation on the recall ballot.

A late decision “is a good strategy only if he is going to run”, Hoffenblum said of Schwarzenegger.

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