John G. Downey: The first foreign-born California governor
When Californians elected Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, to the governorship in 2004, he was the second foreign-born person to hold that office. John G. Downey, an Irish immigrant who arrived in the United States at the age of 14, was the first, acceding to the California governorship as a Democrat in 1860. Although 140 years separate these two men, with all the attendant differences in society, commerce and the environment, not to mention the great gulf between Democrats and Republicans, there are many parallels between them. Both became successful businessmen, established their base of power in Southern California and came into office under unusual circumstances.