California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi announced he has dropped out of the race for Governor Aug. 9. Garamendi bowed out under intense pressure from union leaders and fellow Democrats, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Oct. 7 election to recall Governor Gray Davis has turned into a circus, Garamendi said. Garamendi stated earlier that his decision to run was sparked by Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante’s announcement of candidacy. Bustamante’s decision broke Democratic Party ranks, although he had previously said he would not run.
While he stated he opposed the recall, Garamendi would not publicly endorse Bustamante.
Garamendi’s departure leaves Bustamante as the Democratic Party’s most competitive candidate, allowing the Democratic Party to unite against the recall, while at the same time urging voters to consider Bustamante as a back-up candidate.
Bustamante will face off with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arianna Huffington, among others.
According to the Times, Garamendi solidified his decision after speaking with Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation.
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