ORANGE, Calif. – Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) is making another step toward settling into the role of a traditional political candidate.
Pulling a page from Gov. Gray Davis (search)' playbook, the actor was to hold a town hall-style meeting Monday evening at Chapman University, where he was scheduled to field questions from more than 100 invited guests including small-business owners and students, campaign spokesman Sean Walsh said.
Davis has held several town hall-style meetings around California as he fights for his job in advance of the Oct. 7 recall election. The latest was scheduled Monday in South Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver (search), was scheduled to sign up voters in Sacramento in the Kennedy relative's first solo campaign appearance.
The campaign stops come on the first day of absentee voting in the recall election. Election officials say absentee voting is a growing trend and could account for up to a third of the voters in the election. Candidates, parties and labor unions were launching major campaigns to target absentee voters, who are considered more likely to vote than others.
Davis faced more fallout Monday from his criticism last week of Schwarzenegger's Austrian-accented pronunciation of the name California.
California Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim called for an apology, and Greek-born independent candidate Arianna Huffington seized on the opportunity.
"Contrary to what Gov. Davis said, you can have an accent, you can pronounce California in the wrong way and still be governor of California," she told Orange Coast College students.
"Arnold wants to hear from the people what their dreams, hopes and concerns are for the state, and Arnold wants to convey back to the people that he knows their concerns, he knows what it's like to come to the state as an immigrant," Walsh said.
Elsewhere, conservative state Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Northridge, campaigned on the airwaves, vowing during a television appearance in Oakland that he would not drop out to make way for Schwarzenegger.
But McClintock joined Schwarzenegger in attacking Davis for signing a bill to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, and in attributing the move to politics. Davis signed the bill Friday after vetoing similar legislation last year.
Another Republican candidate, former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, began airing a television ad touting his successful leadership of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics in 1984. "Leadership in crisis is what Peter Ueberroth does best," the ad says.