List of California candidates to be released Wednesday
Davis says he won't resign
SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- The field of candidates for California's colorful, confusing and potentially costly gubernatorial recall race figures to grow Wednesday once an official list is certified.
Those candidates -- who already include a movie star, the state's Democratic lieutenant governor, last year's GOP gubernatorial nominee and a pornographic publisher -- will compete for attention on a vast and complex ballot October 7.
Voters will be asked whether to recall embattled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and who his replacement should be. That second question becomes moot if Davis -- under fire for dire state finances -- defeats the recall.
Davis vowed anew Tuesday not to resign. "I have an obligation to the 8 million people who went to the polls last November," Davis said in response to a reporter's question.
The secretary of state's office is scheduled to release a certified list of candidates by the close of business Wednesday. So far, 115 candidates have qualified out of 247 who have filed. To qualify for the ballot, candidates had to pay a $3,500 filing fee and hand in the signatures of 65 registered voters.
On Monday, state election officials introduced a new order for the English alphabet, which will determine the order that the names of the candidates will appear on the ballot.
For the purposes of the October 7 vote, the alphabet will begin with R, W and Q.
"S," as in apparent front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the 11th letter, moving up from 19th in the standard alphabet.
California follows the "randomized alphabet" process for all its elections, with the goal of ensuring fairness in the placement of candidates' names.
The procedure was established in 1975 after courts ruled that standard alphabetical order or incumbent-first placement was unconstitutional because undecided voters have a 5 percent positional bias, according to the California secretary of state's Web site.
The ballot -- with what figures to be an unprecedented number of candidates for a single office -- promises to be a logistical nightmare for elections officials and a brain teaser for voters. Davis says the election will cost about $70 million.
Schwarzenegger, Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and Bill Simon -- who lost to Davis nine months ago in the general election -- will be on the ballot alongside Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, former child actor Gary Coleman, independent candidate and columnist Arianna Huffington, and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, among others. (Gallery: The recall and candidates)
If the recall succeeds, the candidate with the most votes -- no majority is necessary -- will take over as governor and serve the remaining three years of Davis' term.
On Monday, in a moment resembling a state lottery, a state official blindly pulled letters out of a revolving canister to determine the order of the recall alphabet.
The candidates' names will be alphabetized based on the alphabet that was selected Monday, with the candidates' second and following letters being looked at according to the same list if needed to determine the order within each group of initial letters.
Officials will then make 80 lists -- one for each of the state's voting districts -- by moving each name on top of one list to the bottom of the next.
Not all candidates will see their name at the top of a list, however, because there are more than 80 candidates.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in California, challenging the recall. Specifically, the group says that many minority voters could be disproportionately disadvantaged by the use of "obsolete" voting equipment in some counties.
Poll shows support for Schwarzenegger
Poll figures showed Schwarzenegger is the one to beat, and both Davis and Bustamante on Monday offered hints of their campaign strategies. (Full story)
In TV interviews, Davis said he has heard the discontent of his state's voters loud and clear and is working "harder to solve people's problems," while Bustamante cast himself as, in certain ways, the opposite of Schwarzenegger.
"I'm an average guy," he said, emphasizing, "I am probably the only non-millionaire in the race."
Both men, speaking less than a day after a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released its results, took Schwarzenegger to task for having done little, if anything, to show what his platform would be or how he would get anything done.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Simon described Schwarzenegger as an "unknown."(Full story)
CNN correspondents Dana Bash, Miguel Marquez, Bob Franken, Candy Crowley, Deborah Feyerick, Kelly Wallace and Thelma Gutierrez, senior political analyst Bill Schneider, Producer Eric Fiegel, and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield contributed to this report.