Actor Clint Eastwood received two boosts in his drive to be elected mayor of this picturesque village of 4,700 residents when one of his opponents dropped out of the race and a local poll showed him comfortably ahead.
Businessman Paul Laub on Thursday withdrew from the race and endorsed Eastwood.
"What I want to do here is provide a united front against the problems that we have had, so that we can effect the change that is necessary," said Laub, 41, a store owner who has accused the current city government of hindering business interests. "Mr. Eastwood has convinced me of his sincerity, his ability, his willingness to handle the problems."
Laub's withdrawal leaves Eastwood, 55, opposed by incumbent Charlotte Townsend, 61, and Tim Grady, 27, a dishwasher and self-described environmentalist.
The contest has become the most closely watched small-town mayoral election in America, thanks to the candidacy of Eastwood, star of such movies as "Dirty Harry" and "Magnum Force" and one of the world's top box office draws. Eastwood and Townsend have been presumed to be the front-runners, although the recent poll, sponsored by television station KMST in Monterey and the Carmel Pine Cone newspaper, showed Eastwood well in front.