NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday billionaire financial guru Warren Buffett has joined his campaign as an adviser.
Buffett, influential chairman of the financial firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will serve as senior financial and economic advisor to Schwarzenegger, a Republican seeking to replace Democratic Governor Gray Davis, who is blamed by Republicans for the state running an enormous budget deficit.
"I have known Arnold for years and know he'll be a great governor," Buffett said in a statement. "It is critical to the rest of the nation that California's economic crisis be solved, and I think Arnold will get that job done."
The campaign said Buffett would gather a team of "prominent" business leaders and economists to advise Schwarzenegger, an actor derided by Democrats as lacking the experience to manage a state the size of California, which has the world's fifth-largest economy.
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In a statement, Schwarzenegger described Buffett as "the greatest investor ever, my mentor, and my hero."
"Warren has a common sense approach to business issues and an integrity that is unmatched. That's the same way I want to approach governing. Warren always tells it the way it is," Schwarzenegger said.
Buffett, who has sided with Democrats recently in criticizing President Bush's dividend-tax-cut plan, will not be paid for his services, the Schwarzenegger campaign said.
Republicans led the campaign to recall Davis, taking advantage of public dissatisfaction with the state's $38 billion budget deficit and a lingering energy crisis. Hundreds of candidates, including Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, former child actor Gary Coleman and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, have joined the race to replace Davis if he is recalled in an Oct. 7 vote.