The nine rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have come together in support of embattled California Gov. Gray Davis (search), who is trying to fend off an effort to remove him from office.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe (search) got the party's White House candidates to join him in signing an open letter against the recall of Davis.

The Democrats described the Oct. 7 recall election as a "costly Republican power grab."

"California is currently a Democratic holdout against President Bush and the Republicans in Washington, D.C., who are using their power in the majority to force through their unpopular right-wing agenda," the letter says. "California has charted a course for a progressive agenda that can be a model for America, but now those achievements are under attack by the ambitious Republicans who are sponsoring this recall."

The letter came as the national AFL-CIO Executive Council (search) voted to oppose the recall and urged elected Democrats not to run in the recall election.

Davis is the first California governor to face a recall and would be only the second governor nationwide to be removed from office if the effort succeeds.