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Schwarzenegger wins backing of conservative group

Other Republicans urged to drop out

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger answers questions at a news conference on Wednesday.
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger answers questions at a news conference on Wednesday.

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NEWPORT BEACH, California (CNN) -- A conservative group in Southern California Friday threw its support behind GOP gubernatorial hopeful Arnold Schwarzenegger and urged other Republicans to get out of the race.

The endorsement comes just a day after the state GOP chairman said "there may come a time" for the Republican field to narrow.

California voters will decide October 7 whether to recall Democratic Gov. Davis and, if so, who should replace him from a field of 135 candidates.

The Lincoln Club of Orange County said it believes Schwarzenegger -- an action-movie star who has never held public office -- is best suited to winning the race and solving the state's economic crisis.

Club President Tracy Price told CNN he believes Schwarzenegger can bring some "sanity" to the state's financial woes. Price said the Lincoln Club notified GOP hopefuls, businessman Bill Simon, who lost to Davis last year, and state Sen. Tom McClintock, of its decision.

"We think it's Arnold's time," Price said.

A Schwarzenegger spokesman welcomed the news, calling it "a very substantial conservative Republican endorsement."

In an interview with CNN, Simon was equivocal when asked if he would get out of the race if senior state GOP leaders called on him to do so.

"I'm always open to talk people," he said, adding, "I do think the field will winnow down as time goes on."

The Lincoln Club is made up of business elite in conservative Orange County and has been in existence since the early 1960s.

Duf Sundheim, the chairman of the California Republican Party, told CNN Thursday that sometime in the near future some of the GOP candidates may need to "put their personal ambitions aside for what's in the best interest of the state."

He cited the example of Rep. Darrell Issa, who financed much of the recall bid and was considered a leading candidate, but has since bowed out. "I'm confident if other people are in that situation, they'll do what's right for California," Sundheim told CNN.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, said the candidates need "to look themselves in the mirror" and if they have "no chance" of winning, then they should "get out."

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