LOS ANGELES – While about a half dozen serious candidates are running for governor in California, many more colorful candidates are also in the mix.
And while they stand little chance of becoming governor, they clearly are enjoying the national attention.
Candidates range from a former child actor to an "adult actress" and continue along a colorful spectrum that includes a pinup queen and a porn king. Also on the roster are pot smokers who are providing a lot of material for late night jokers.
"The news is so bad, even Florida is laughing at us," quipped "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, harkening back to the 2000 presidential election debacle.
To qualify for the ballot, all a candidate needs is $3,500 and 65 signatures from registered voters. Wisdom and taste are not required.
"Hustler Magazine" publisher Larry Flynt (search) said he is running because he honestly thinks that "California wouldn't mind having a smut peddler who cares" as its governor.
Flynt's platform is to expand gaming regulations and allow more casinos, which he says will bring more revenue to the state. Of course, Flynt is the owner of the Hustler Casino (search).
And behind every wishful candidate is a catchy slogan.
"I am going to run as the Car Party. If I just represent drivers, I'll get a lot of votes," said Leo Gallagher (search), a comedian.
Gallagher said he does have a plan for easing freeway congestion — while unclear, it involves Black Hawk helicopters.
Voters will have the option of choosing a candidate based on some big issues facing California — a better education, a lower deficit or a solid energy policy. But they also have the choice to choose a candidate whose platform rests on freeing the ferrets or giving tax breaks to strip clubs.
"I think people are just happier when they get lap dances," said Mary "Carey" Cook, a porn actress who would also like to put streaming cameras in the governor's mansion and tax breast implants.
"This could split the all important 'porn vote,'" Leno said, referring to the Carey-Flynt match-up.
Californians also have the chance to go to the polls to cast a vote for candidates who want to legalize marijuana and promote bum fights. As one candidate argues, isn't it about time that California got pinker?
Among the hundreds of possible candidates is a candidate who is 100. Matilda Spak (search) said she is concerned about senior issues.
"You can do anything," she responded when asked about her advancing age.
Some of the candidates are good at self-promotion, others are not.
"I am the least qualified candidate," said actor Gary Coleman (search), who played Arnold Jackson Drummond on the 1970s sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes."
Credentials, of course, are overrated according to some candidates.
"I can do better than those bureaucratic pinheads," said Flynt.
"I feel government has always been run by uptight older men," said Carey.
Clearly in this tale of two elections — the serious and the wacky — most of those on the ballot are not really vying for the governor's job but are instead stumping for their 15 minutes of fame.
Building on that idea is the Game Show Network, which will soon come out with a new show called "Who Wants to Be the Governor of California?"
The debating game will pit five candidates against one another. Each will vie for a campaign contribution of $21,000, just below the legal limit.
The process may not exactly be the way America's forefathers envisioned it, but they didn't have cable.
Fox News' Trace Gallagher and Brian Loring contributed to this report.