By JOSHUA WOLFSON
After enduring months of debates, attack ads and legal wrangling, Tuolumne County voters finally got their say yesterday at the ballot box.
Some were eager to cast a vote toward removing Democratic Gov. Gray Davis from office, while others argued the embattled leader of California should serve out his term.
In the end, the recall supporters won out and successfully voted Davis out of office, to be replaced by Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Ruth Callahan, a Jamestown resident and Habitat for Humanity of Tuolumne County director, said she voted for Schwarzenegger for pragmatic reasons.
"I wanted to get a non-politician in there," she said. "We are tired of (politicians) stuffing their pockets and ignoring us."
Not everyone at the polls was excited by the prospect of Schwarzenegger in the governor's office.
"This whole thing with Arnold Schwarzenegger is such a sham," said Richard Novo Sr., a Sonora resident who cast his vote at the Elks Lodge. "It is the Republicans trying to make a power grab."
After failing to vote in last year's gubernatorial election when Davis was reelected, Theresa Helus said she made sure to cast her vote to recall Davis.
"Now that I have a chance to do something, I'm going to," the Jamestown resident said.
Helus voted to recall Davis and replace him with State Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks.
"He seems very knowledgeable, sensible and trustworthy," she said. "He doesn't look like a joke."
California's dire financial condition helped prompt Paul McMahon, a small-business owner who lives in Jamestown, to vote for Davis' recall.
"I don't think there is one thing he did that I agreed with," he said. "If I thought the governor was doing his job, I wouldn't be here. We needed a change"
California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has estimated the recall election will cost the state about $66 million. That was one reason why Twain Harte resident Opal Boone voted against it.