November 17, 2003 Arnold Schwarzenegger, former champion bodybuilder and star of action films such as ‘Terminator’, is sworn in as Governor of California. He had been elected six weeks earlier with 48.6% of the vote, comfortably beating Democrat candidate Cruz Bustamente (31%).
Born in Austria in 1947, Schwarzenegger was given US citizenship in 1983. Soon after arriving in the US for the first time in 1968, the reigning Mr. Universe was inspired by Richard Nixon’s low-tax, small-government rhetoric to become a Republican. His first forays into the political scene came in the 1980s when he campaigned for George H.W Bush’s presidential run. Schwarzenegger announced his intention to run for California governor on the ‘Tonight with Jay Leno’ TV show having made the decision, he says, on the way to the studio. Once in he job, he inherited an electricity as well as a budget crisis in California. Despite a pro-capital punishment stance and blocking the legalisation of same-sex marriage, he remained popular enough in a traditionally liberal state to win re-election in 2006. He left office in January 2011.