Rob Lowe joins Schwarzenegger campaign. The real-life (and on-screen) Democrat will help Arnold rustle up other celebs

By Gary Susman
Updated August 14, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Rob Lowe: Fred Prouser/REUTERS/NewsCom

He played a Democrat on TV, and he’s been a Democratic party activist in real life, but Rob Lowe is the newest high-profile volunteer for Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign in the California governor’s race. In an interview with TV’s ”Extra,” the former ”West Wing” star says he’s playing for the other team because the Terminator is ”motivating and energizing people in this state that haven’t been interested in politics in many, many years.” He also said he believes that, party affiliation aside, Schwarzenegger will ”put the people above partisan politics.”

Lowe may have been motivated less by Schwarzenegger’s policy ideas (about which the candidate has so far been vague) than his leadership skills. ”I know that when I’m on a set, I want to know who the director is. I don’t want to have to guess,” Lowe told ”Extra.” ”That’s what Arnold will bring to this state. He’s a leader.” He said he was also impressed by his fellow actor’s willingness to become a media target, describing Schwarzenegger’s candidacy as ”a tremendous sacrifice for Arnold and for the family to give up their way of life — the privacy they value so much.”

Lowe and Schwarzenegger became friends three years ago when their families met on vacation, and Lowe helped Schwarzenegger raise money for his successful ballot initiative on after-school programs last year, campaign spokesperson Karen Hanretty told Reuters. She said Lowe’s job would be to recruit other celebrities to endorse Arnold. It’s not clear how much time Lowe will have to devote to the campaign, since he’s starting production on a new NBC political drama series, ”Lyon’s Den.”