LOS ANGELES – Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (search) ended weeks of speculation Thursday by announcing he will not run for governor if a Republican-led campaign to recall fellow Democrat Gov. Gray Davis (search) makes it to the ballot.
"I will not participate in any way other than to urge voters to reject this expensive perversion of the recall process," Bustamante said in a statement. "I will not attempt to advance my career at the expense of the people I was elected to serve."
Earlier this week, two other leading California Democrats, Attorney General Bill Lockyer (search) and state Treasurer Phil Angelides (search), said they had no intention of running. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (search), considered the strongest potential Democratic candidate, has not ruled out a run.
Political analysts say that if the recall is on the ballot, Davis' chances of surviving will be better if there are no Democratic alternatives.
Recall proponents have until Sept. 2 to collect nearly 900,000 signatures. They want to submit the needed signatures next month, which would force a special election this fall.
The recall is being backed largely by donations from Rep. Darrell Issa (search), a socially conservative multimillionaire who wants Davis' job. Other potential candidates on the Republican side include Bill Simon, who lost to Davis in last year's election, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (search).