California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday he is ready to open his wallet and will raise as much money as needed in his campaign for four ballot measures in a special election he insists are needed to overhaul the state government.
Speaking to reporters in the tent on the state Capitol grounds where he smokes cigars, Schwarzenegger said he could only think of victory in November despite polls showing he faces an uphill struggle to rally voters to three of the four measures, according to Reuters.
"We are going to turn it around," said Schwarzenegger with cigar in hand.
The celebrity Republican governor, who will seek reelection next year, is squaring off over the measures with the state's powerful teachers' union and other public employee unions.
One of the measures would make it more difficult for public school teachers to obtain tenure. Another measure would limit how public employee unions may raise money from members for political purposes.
A third measure would strip lawmakers of the ability to draw legislative district lines and would give the job to retired judges. The fourth measure would limit state spending.
Each measure in seen by analysts as a threat to Democrats who control the state legislature. The state Democratic Party and labor activists have vowed to defeat the measures.
Schwarzenegger, swept into office in a controversial recall election of then Gov. Gray Davis, says the measures would combat "special interests" who lobby the state to spend more than it takes in.
"I never think when I go into a campaign that we are going to lose," the former bodybuilding champion and Hollywood icon said. "I only think about victory."
"I will do whatever it takes," Schwarzenegger added, noting he is committed to putting his personal money into the campaign but declining to say how much.
In a wide-ranging interview in the wake of flooding in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Schwarzenegger said California must tap money from its coffers and the federal government to better maintain its levee systems to prevent breaks that could cause flooding to its farming areas.