Ueberroth said he originally entered the race to do something about the state budget crisis and loss of jobs among Californians.
“I will continue to work hard to keep jobs in this state and to create jobs in this state, just not as a candidate for governor,” Ueberroth said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
Ueberroth’s withdrawal slightly narrows the field of candidates Californians will choose from when they go to the polls on Oct. 7 to decide the fate of current Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
Voters will answer two questions on the recall ballot. The first will ask whether Davis should be retained as governor and the second will ask voters to choose their preference from a list of more than 100 possible replacements.
Ueberroth said he plans to meet with each of the major Republican candidates before making a decision about an endorsement. He also said he would volunteer to work with whomever the governor is after the election to find ways to create jobs in California.
A Field Research Corp. poll released Tuesday showed Ueberroth with the support of just 5 percent of those surveyed, trailing Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock, who received 30 percent, 25 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they supported removing Davis from office. The poll’s margin of error was 4.5 percent.
Ueberroth said the poll did not affect his decision to drop out of the race, but he also said he didn’t see a way to get his candidacy “over the goal line.”
His withdrawal is seen as a boon for the Republican candidates on the ballot and a possible challenge to Bustamante’s narrow lead.
McClintock told CNN’s Judy Woodruff he hoped Ueberroth’s supporters would “migrate” to his campaign. McClintock further said he would not withdraw from the race to bolster the Schwarzenegger campaign.