|There were scenes of jubilation as Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrated his victory
|2003: The Terminator takes on California
The film star Arnold Schwarzenegger has been elected governor of California,oustingthe incumbent, Gray Davis, three years before his term was due to end.
It is the first time in the state's history that a governor has been sacked mid-term.
With most of the ballots counted, Mr Schwarzenegger has won almost 48% of the vote.
In a victory speech beforejubilantsupporters, Mr Schwarzenegger thanked the people of California for giving him their trust.
"I want to be the governor of the people," he said. "I know that together we can make this the greatest state in the greatest country in the world."
He pledged to restore trust in California's government and to re-impose discipline on the state's out-of-control budget.
Gray Davis has already accepted defeat, telling supporters voters had decided "it was time for someone else to serve and I have accepted their judgement."
The vote was triggered by Republican activists, frustrated at high levels of unemployment, struggling schools, and the state's budget deficit, which now runs into tens of billions of dollars.
In a two-part ballot, voters were first asked if they wanted to recall - or sack - Governor Davis.
The only other governor in US history to be recalled was North Dakota's Lynn Frazier, in 1921.
Then - regardless of their answer to the first question - they had to indicate who they preferred as an alternative among the 135 alternative candidates running.
With 96.8% of the results in, 54.4% wanted a recall.
Mr Schwarzenegger was running ahead with 47.9% support. His closest rival, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, was on 32.4%.
The Austrian-born film star and former body builder - who made his name in action films such as The Terminator and Total Recall - galvanised the campaign when he announced he would be running on talk show host Jay Leno's television show earlier this year.
Large crowds have gathered to see him at campaign speeches and rallies.
But the political fight has been brutal at times, with Mr Schwarzenegger accused of sexually harassing a number of women, and allegations that he once praised Hitler.
He has denied the allegations, although he made an apology for "rowdy behaviour" on film sets.