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Termination vote puts Arnold on spot

Schwarzenegger try would recall Reagan run

Hollywood has circled Aug. 9 on its calendar — the last day for Arnold Schwarzenegger to decide if he’ll run to replace California Gov. Gray Davis.

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante announced Thursday that the unprecedented recall vote would take place Oct. 7, triggering the Aug. 9 deadline for candidates to declare.

Schwarzenegger said Thursday he will finish promoting “Terminator 3” before announcing whether he will run. During a news conference in Mexico City, Schwarzenegger brushed aside questions by saying, “I have no announcement to make, if that’s your question.”

Schwarzenegger had been eyed as an early favorite for the GOP candidacy in 2006, but the recall campaign has muddied the state’s political outlook.

The only declared candidate so far is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista). However, several supporters of Jack Kemp, the party’s VP nominee in 1996, urged him Thursday to put his name on the ballot. Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan said he would back Schwarzenegger but added he will take a “hard look” at running if the thesp declines; and businessman Bill Simon, who lost to Davis last year, took out papers to form an exploratory committee.

Davis, who raised more than $70 million for his re-election effort last year, has pledged a vigorous campaign over the next 10 weeks. He is not subject to state campaign finance limits in the recall election, while his opponents can raise no more than $21,200 from each donor.

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