LOS ANGELES – Before an energized crowd in Los Angeles Tuesday night, Republican governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) pledged to unite California and restore the trust in government.
“For the people to win, politics as usual must lose,” Schwarzenegger said. “I will reach out to Republicans, Democrats, and independents ... I want to be the governor for the people. I want to represent everybody.”
Schwarzenegger, a 56-year old Austrian immigrant and seven-time Mr. Olympia, said his fortunes rose when he came to the United States.
"Everything I have is because of California. I came here with absolutely nothing, and California has given me absolutely everything. And today, California has given me the greatest gift of all, you have given me your trust by voting for me," he said.
At the end of Schwarzenegger’s speech, a flurry of balloons and confetti fell on the 1,000 supporters who danced, cheered and roared.
With 60 percent of the precincts reporting, Californians voted to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis (search) by a margin of 55 to 45 percent. Topping the list of 135 gubernatorial candidates, Schwarzenegger received almost 50 percent of the vote, with Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (search) recording 32 percent and Republican State Sen. Tom McClintock (search) earning 13 percent.
In an unusual scene, many Kennedys, usually stalwart Democrats, shared the stage with the new Republican governor. Among the clan were Schwarzenegger’s wife, Maria Shriver, whose parents Eunice and Sergeant Shriver were among other family members who showed up to support the Republican member of the family.
The Hollywood action hero was introduced by late-night talk show host Jay Leno, who quipped, “Tonight is a testament of just how important one night on the ‘Tonight Show’ can be,” referring to Schwarzenegger's appearance on the show to announce his candidacy.
Many prominent California Republicans and fellow actors took part in the Schwarzenegger celebration at the Century Plaza Hotel.
“We now have a governor-elect who can go over the heads of the state legislature and directly to the people and that’s a good thing,” said state Sen. Jim Brulte, leader of the minority Republicans in the state Senate.
“To quote Jackie Gleason, ‘How sweet it is!’ The voters wanted this. You could feel it in the air,“ said U.S. Rep Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who bankrolled the recall effort.
Other prominent Republicans celebrating with Schwarzenegger included former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and former Gov. Pete Wilson.
Actor Tom Arnold extended his congratulations by phone and told Fox News that he wished he could have attended the victory party. Actor Gary Busey spoke to the crowd and defended Schwarzenegger from the sexual assault allegations that had dogged him in the last few days of the campaign.
Fox News' Adam Housley contributed to this report.