SAN FRANCISCO – Gov. Gray Davis (search ) turned to another high-profile Democrat to help him stay in office Saturday as the candidates trying to replace him fanned out across the state for a busy campaign day in California's recall election.
Accompanied by Sen. John Edwards (search), one of the Democrats running for president, Davis went to friendly territory, greeting voters at a cafe bordering San Francisco's historic Castro district.
"The energy crisis is behind us," Davis told one diner as several others wished him good luck.
The visit by Edwards followed a week in which Davis appeared with former President Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore (search), allies in his attempt to cast the recall as just the latest Republican power grab. Later in the day Davis rallied several thousand members of organized labor before they set off on a cross-country bus ride to Washington, D.C., to push for immigrants' rights.
Conservative Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock kept up his sniping at GOP front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger amid word that the Republican chairmen of California's 58 counties would discuss endorsing a candidate.
And the one major Democrat on the recall ballot, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, promised to fight for the working man and pressed his "No on recall, yes on Bustamante" message in the Imperial County desert.
"We want good jobs in California. We want decent paying jobs in California," Bustamante told a rally in an El Centro park.
In a challenge to employers, he said: "You don't want to give workers rights, then leave."
A day after a federal court's decision raised the prospect that the election will go forward Oct. 7 as planned, the candidates were campaigning as though it was, in fact, their third-to-last Saturday on the path to the recall.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said an 11-judge panel will hear arguments Monday on whether a three-judge panel erred when it ruled that the October date must be delayed to prevent the use of unreliable punch-card ballots.
The decision was welcomed by all the leading candidates, who are preparing for a week of important developments -- the hearing Monday will be followed by a candidate debate Wednesday, the only one Schwarzenegger is attending.
Several dozen Schwarzenegger supporters crashed a McClintock rally near San Diego, holding signs that read "Tom, don't give the state to Cruz" and "Do the math."
McClintock brushed them off.
"My advice is that they should spend a great deal more time studying public policy and a lot less time trying to muscle me out of the race. They'd be in much better condition right now," he told reporters later.
A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman denied the campaign had any role in the disturbance.
Earlier, McClintock addressed a breakfast hosted by a conservative former state assemblyman in Corona Del Mar where listeners offered a prayer for public officials who "are going liberal."
Pledging once again to stay in the race, McClintock said his campaign has shown momentum and dismissed Schwarzenegger as "dead in the water."
The Republican actor did not mention McClintock when he made a campaign stop in Riverside, where he urged several thousand supporters to register to vote. Monday is the deadline to register if the election is held Oct. 7.
"We have the obligation to rise up and take the government back ourselves," Schwarzenegger said.
Some Republicans have grown increasingly vocal in their fears that McClintock and Schwarzenegger will split their vote and throw the election to Bustamante if Davis is recalled. Responding to those concerns, the chairmen of most of the Republican committees in California's 58 counties will meet Thursday in Sacramento to discuss whether to make an endorsement, Ken Nehring, the president of the California Republican County Chairmen's Association, said Saturday.
"The [association] has never before endorsed a candidate, but then again we have never before been faced with a statewide recall election," said Nehring, who is also the Republican county chairman for San Diego County.
The meeting planned for Thursday was first reported Saturday by the Los Angeles Times.