Bonnie Reiss never intended to come to Sacramento.
But on the night of October 7, 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger won the recall election, Reiss remembers sitting on the terrace of the presidential suite in the Century Plaza Hotel after the crowd had gone home. On the terrace with her were two other people: Maria Shriver and the new governor-elect. It was there that Reiss had her “epiphany moment.”
“I thought because of his fame, because he’s not obligated to the party or party politics, there’s an opportunity to maybe be something kind of different. I also know that throughout history, anyone who’s tried to buck the norm and be something different, the resistance is huge. And I thought, I want to be a part of that.”
The fact that Schwarzenegger decided to run for governor at all stunned Reiss.
“Arnold was doing the Leno show,” she recalled. “All of us kind of thought he was not running–me included. He was so good at this that his closest people thought, ‘Nah, he’s not going to run.’ I’m in the conference room [in Schwarzenegger’s Santa Monica office], and suddenly my cell phone starts going off and the girls start barging in to the conference room, saying, ‘Oh, my God! Arnold just announced on Leno