Arnold Schwarzenegger's only Republican opponent in the race for California Governor is being asked to step down and back the movie star.

Republican party leaders in Washington fear state senator TOM McCLINTOCK's campaign is deflecting Republican votes away from ARNIE, who is now five per cent behind new favourite CRUZ BUSTAMANTE in the recall election polls.

Another Republican candidate, PETER UEBERROTH, stepped down earlier this week (beg08SEP03).

Republican Mary Bono, widow of SONNY AND CHER star Sonny Bono, says, "It's essential that he drop out if he doesn't want to be personally responsible for electing Cruz Bustamante."

Meanwhile, Arnie is losing the celebrity vote to businesswoman ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, who staged a campaign fundraiser at producer pal Lawrence Bender's Hollywood home.

Dustin Hoffman, David Carradine, Anjelica Huston and Nia Vardalos were in attendance.

Schwarzenegger guests at his own fundraiser in Hollywood this weekend (13SEP03), which is being hosted by actor pal Jim Belushi.

11/09/2003 21:12