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A Look at Some of the Leading Declared Candidates

August 08, 2003

Cruz Bustamante

The state's lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante, 50, was cast into limbo by Gov. Gray Davis when, early in his term, he took issue with the governor on an issue related to Proposition 187, the anti-illegal-immigration initiative that voters passed in 1994.

Born in Dinuba in the San Joaquin Valley, Bustamante went to Sacramento as an assemblyman in 1993 and was Assembly speaker from 1996 to 1998.

He earned his spurs in Democratic politics by serving on the staff of Rep. Richard Lehman for five years and as an assistant to Assemblyman Bruce Bronzan for another five.

The first Latino elected to statewide office since 1878, Bustamante has been the recipient of large contributions from the operators of Indian casinos.

He was educated at Fresno City College and Cal State Fresno. In his first major professional assignment, he was director of the Fresno Summer Youth Employment Program for six years.

He and his wife, Arcelia, have three children and two grandchildren.

Peter Camejo

Peter Miguel Camejo, 63, a Green Party candidate, ran for president as a socialist in 1976, gaining ballot status in several states and garnering more than 90,000 votes.

Accusing Gov. Gray Davis of creating a "budgetary disaster" in California, Camejo is calling for an independent, nonpartisan audit to determine where all the money went. Camejo ran against Davis as the Green candidate in last year's gubernatorial race.

Born in New York to one of Venezuela's wealthiest families, Camejo has campaigned over the years for the rights of Latinos in the United States and has worked to free political prisoners in Latin America. He is a longtime supporter of the women's movement, decriminalization of marijuana, legalization of undocumented immigrants and gay and lesbian rights.

Camejo, who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley, has helped develop organic farming in Nicaragua and worked on a plan to fund solar power installations through home mortgages.

Camejo is a trustee of the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Assn. and chairman of Progressive Asset Management Inc., an organization that promotes socially responsible investments.

He and his wife, Morella, live in Walnut Creek.

John Garamendi

John Garamendi, 58, now serving his second term as state insurance commissioner, has long had an ambition to be governor. He comes from the Sierra foothills and -- despite serving 16 years in the Legislature (two in the Assembly and 14 in the state Senate) and in Washington as a deputy secretary of the Interior -- he has never commanded much attention in the state's urban centers.

Garamendi, sometimes accused of being too ambitious, has a strong academic background, with degrees from UC Berkeley and the Harvard Business School. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia as a young man. He was an Eagle Scout, and a star football player at Berkeley.

He has been married for 37 years to Patricia Wilkinson Garamendi. The couple have six children and four grandchildren. .

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, 53, the political columnist and television commentator who won national recognition as a witty and articulate spokeswoman for her then-husband's failed Republican race for the U.S. Senate in 1994, is running as an independent in the gubernatorial recall race.

Once a proponent of conservative causes, she has emerged left of center in recent years, campaigning against corporate greed and gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles. She has never held elected office.

Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University, where she was president of the prestigious Cambridge Union debating society.

She wrote popular biographies of Pablo Picasso and Maria Callas, and married U.S. oil billionaire Michael Huffington.

He served one term as a Republican congressman from Santa Barbara, and won the GOP nomination for one of California's U.S. Senate seats in 1994. Despite the efforts of his wife and spending $28 million of his own money, he lost a bitter campaign to Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

Arianna Huffington then set up a political salon in Washington that gradually moved from right to left, while her husband remained in California and got into the movie business.

After 11 years of marriage, they divorced in 1997, and he subsequently announced that he is gay. She lives in Brentwood, and they share custody of their daughters, 12 and 14. He had expressed interest in the recall race but released a statement Thursday saying he had decided not to run.

Tom McClintock

McClintock, 47, the staunchly conservative Republican state senator from Thousand Oaks, likes to kid about his Scottish ancestry, gleefully describing himself as a cheapskate.

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