Governor of California from 1998 to 2003. Became the second Governor in American history to the recalled by popular referendum. For various reasons, some beyond his control, Davis was often derided for what was perceived as slavery to corporate interests, and frequently warred with the Democratic-controlled state legislature. He was unpopular with the public going into the 2002 race. Realizing that his likely opponent would be the well-liked, moderate Republican Richard Riordan, Davis loaded millions of dollars into attack ads before the GOP primary that helped convince Republicans to switch their support to the lesser-known, extremist candidate Bill Simon, who lost to Davis in November 2002 by a slim margin (George W. Bush was apparently inspired to use the same strategy against John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election). In 2002, Davis pushed for and signed one of the most sweeping domestic partnership bills in the nation, and signed an extension to that bill weeks before leaving office.
Davis was the victim of a right-wing funded recall campaign in 2003 in the midst of a statewide energy crisis spawned by the deregulation of the state's electrical power industry. He was replaced in the Governor's mansion by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Davis is now taking acting lessons and has appeared on such television programs as David Letterman and the CBS sitcom, Yes, Dear.