The Republican politician declared victory late on Tuesday (in the United States) in the election race dubbed the California Circus.

Flanked by his wife Maria Shriver, a Democrat of the famed Kennedy clan, Schwarzenegger thanked all of the state’s voters for ushering him into office.

“I want to help the people of California,” he said. “I came here with absolutely everything. And today California has given me the greatest thing of all, you have given me your trust by voting for me,” he said amid cheers.

The race made California the first US state to recall its governor since 1921.

Schwarzenegger vowed to reach across party lines.

“I will reach out to Republicans, Democrats and independents, to those who supported the recall and those who did not, people of all religions, all colours, and all nationalities. I want to be the governor for the people,” he said.

Defeat

Davis (L) concedes  election as his
mother (R) cries with his wife

Meanwhile, beleaguered Davis conceded defeat to the action star turned politician, at a packed ballroom in downtown Los Angeles.

Davis said he had spoken to Schwarzenegger and offered his best wishes to the newly minted politician.

“We have had a lot of good nights over the last 20 years but tonight the people did decide that it’s time for someone else to serve and I accept their judgment,” said the Democratic leader.

While Republicans across the most populous state celebrated seeing the unpopular Democratic governor stripped of power, Schwarzenegger needed Democratic support to win.

Marc O’Hara, consultant for Democrats for Arnold, said he supported the actor “because he’s basically pro-civil rights, pro-choice, pro-environment and pro-small business”.