Is elected governor with nearly 49% of the vote in a special election featuring 134 other candidates.
On his very first day in office, he fulfills a campaign promise to roll back a controversial increase in the vehicle license fee. Estimated cost to the revenue-strapped state: $4 billion.
Arnold is forced to back away from a proposal to eliminate or consolidate dozens of boards and commissions. Critics said it wouldn't save much and would create a serious loss of regulatory oversight.
He vetoes a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, saying it should be up to the voters or the courts.
Four ballot initiatives championed by Schwarzenegger — one dealing directly with budget reform — lose overwhelmingly in a special election.
Arnold signs bills increasing the state's minimum wage and forcing major industries in the state to reduce carbon emissions.
Arnold wins re-election in a landslide victory after pledging to govern from the center. Voters approve ballot measures to secure $37.2 billion in bonds for roads, affordable housing, levees and schools.
Arnold vetoes a second bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
Arnold orders state workers to take two unpaid days off per month. A third furlough day would be added in 2009.
Arnold signs a state budget that includes $12.8 billion in temporary increases in income and sales taxes — as well as the vehicle license fee he had reduced on his first day in office.
Voters reject ballot measures to extend the temporary tax increases, to impose a state spending cap, to privatize the state lottery, and to redirect money intended for early childhood and mental health programs. The measures were part of the deal Schwarzenegger negotiated with the Legislature in dealing with a $42 million deficit.
Arnold calls a special session of the Legislature to address a $6 billion gap in the budget he signed just weeks earlier. Lawmakers defer action until the new year, when Schwarzenegger's successor, Jerry Brown, takes office.
Four months after leaving office, Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria, announce their separation. A week later, he confirms he fathered a child with his family's housekeeper in 1997.