Arnold declared recall winner

Ben Figa

California terminated Gov. Gray Davis from his post Tuesday and voted in Arnold Schwarzenegger, ending an 11 month soap opera and media frenzy over the gubernatorial recall election.

As of 12:30 a.m. today, partial returns showed the recall was favored by 1,448,449 voters, or 55.9 percent. About 1,143,613 voters, or 44.1 percent, chose to keep Davis in office. The 12:30 a.m. information reported 4,226 precincts, out of of the state’s 15,213.

With 3,819 of 15,213 precincts reporting, the Republican Schwarzenegger snagged 50.8 percent of the vote with Democrat Cruz M. Bustamante trailing at 30.4 percent, Republican Tom McClintock garnering 12.6 percent and Green Party candidate Peter Miguel Camejo getting 2.0 percent of the vote.

Northwestern students voiced their opinions through absentee ballots and reacted with excitement, dismay, and concern late Tuesday night about the election and its results.

“I actually voted for Arnold,” said Noah Levin, a Communication sophomore from Los Angeles. “I think that he is socially liberal enough to be a good fit for California and fiscally conservative enough to save our asses.”

Levin said the recall process gave visibility to state politics and engaged people.

“It gives the electoral process some much needed attention than it has not gotten in the past,” Levin said.

Terri Carbaugh, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said that a turnout of 60 percent appeared likely — higher than the 50.7 percent that voted in last November’s gubernatorial election, the Associated Press reported.

Not all students were as pleased with the results. Adam Riff of Palo Alto, Calif., expressed fear about Schwarzenegger being elected.

“I think it’s scary that a state can elect someone to the highest position in the state when they no know so little about what he stands for,” the Weinberg junior said. “He’s been artful at dodging debates and questions from the press.”

The recall election is reported to have cost California’s taxpayers an estimated $67 million. Davis was re-elected last November with less than 50 percent of the vote and later faced mass discontent because of California’s budgetary crisis. Davis now is the second governor in U.S. history to be recalled. The first was North Dakota’s Lynn Frazier in 1921.

Jared Moore, a Weinberg sophomore, attributed the high-profile nature of the recall election to the situation’s uniqueness.

“Because of its lack of precendence, there’s been a frenzy over something that should not have happened in the first place,” Moore said.

Moore expressed uncertainty about Schwartzenegger as governor, mostly because of his inexperience in politics.

“I’ve always thought that he might bring change to the government in California, but at the same time, he doesn’t seem to have a real good grasp on how the government works,” Moore said. “I’m afraid he’ll be more of a pawn to his cabinet than a strong political leader.”

Proposition 54, an initiative which would have banned state and local governments from tracking a resident’s race and ethnicity, also was on the ballot Tuesday but failed.

Riff said although Proposition 54 sounded good on paper, in practice it would impede racial progress.

“I thought that while it may have had great intentions and the goal might have been something I would have been supportive of,” Riff said, “it would be far more detrimental to the racial causes of California.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.