| Peter Ueberroth
Los Angeles, Sept. 10 (Reuters): Millionaire Republican moderate Peter Ueberroth quit the frenetic California recall race today after his campaign failed to catch fire despite an impressive civic resume that includes organising the 1984 Olympics.
Experts said Republican rivals, conservative state senator Tom McClintock and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, stood to gain the most from Ueberroth’s departure as they seek to overtake Democratic Lt Gov Cruz Bustamante in the polls as the leading candidate to replace Gov. Gray Davis, should he lose the recall election on October 7.
But independent candidate and political columnist Arianna Huffington said she expected Ueberroth’s exit to help her more than the remaining Republicans because like Ueberroth, she was running as an alternative to the major-party candidates.
The former baseball commissioner and the man who successfully organised the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles told a news conference it became clear he could not win.
“We can’t see how the numbers work for this candidacy to get across the goal line,” he said.
Ueberroth added he would meet other leading candidates, including Bustamante, and discuss their positions on his key demand to create more jobs in California before deciding whom to endorse. “I feel the calling to enter public service, but I am going to have to find another way,” he said.
Ueberroth had been trailing in a distant fourth place in opinion polls and had been criticised for a lacklustre performance in the first gubernatorial debate last week.
Television ads prepared for the campaign never aired, and Ueberroth said he would give back the more than $3 million in campaign contributions he received.
Ueberroth, a registered Republican who was campaigning as an independent, denied that he had come under pressure from rival campaigns or the Republican Party to drop out of the race in order to bolster support for Schwarzenegger, the Republican front-runner.
McClintock said he was in the race to stay and he expected to pick up a lot of Ueberroth's support.