Political Circus

The Race to Replace Arnold

As Arnold Schwarzenegger declares a state of "fiscal emergency" in California, The New York Times Magazine turns to his state's dysfunctional political landscape and the wildcard characters angling for the governor's job. (Term limits will prevent Arnold from running again 2010.) Noting the "recurring buzz" that California is "ungovernable," writer Mark Leibovich profiles each of California's gubernatorial contenders: Gavin Newsom, the charismatic "political thrill-seeker" with a cult following in the gay community and closet full of sexy embarrassments; Meg Whitman, "dizzyingly rich" former CEO of eBay and stalwart Republican; and State Attorney General Jerry Brown, a starlet-chasing 71-year-old who once called being California governor "a career ender." Though derailed by a series of sex scandals, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa continues to haunt California politics, and his high-powered make-up room's Hollywood credentials are rivaled only by the Schwarzenegger's decision to display his Conan the Barbarian sword in his office.