Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 2003, as the state of California found itself in the midst of a fiscal crisis, a group of Republican activists launched a campaign to recall Governor Gray Davis, and a flock of candidates quickly came forward with hopes of taking over the Golden State's highest office in the event Davis was removed from office -- most famous among them actor-turned-first-time candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger. British documentary filmmaker Alex Cooke came to California to cover the recall election, and How Arnold Won the West offers a look at the men and woman vying for office as well as the difference in their campaign styles -- Davis running on issues and his record, and Schwarzenegger playing up his charisma and star power while offering little notion of what he'll do if elected. (The film also deals with the reporters covering the race, most of whom discover it's nearly impossible to directly ask Schwarzenegger a question.) How Arnold Won the West also includes profiles of several of the 133 other candidates who put their names on the ballot, among them actor Gary Coleman, performance artist Trek Thunder Kelly, and adult film star Mary Carey.
actor, campaign, governor, politician, reporter