Back then, the race famously became more like a circus with 135 candidates jumping in to replace Davis, including 23-year-old porn star Mary Carey, who admitted she ran at the time as a publicity stunt.
Now, 18 years later, Carey is no longer an adult film star and said she's ready to focus on politics. She told KGO-TV she is officially running for California governor in this year's expected recall election.
"Last time, I was young, dumb and full of fun," Carey, 40, said in an interview Monday afternoon. "And this time I'm more experienced and I am not going to take this position laying down. I am ready to be on top."
Carey -- who came in 10th place in 2003 -- already has a website, T-shirts and even a working slogan ("Finally a politician you want to be screwed by!" she says with a wink). But it's hard to say if this time around people will take her any more seriously.
Still, her announcement underscores what a wild election year could be in store for California.
WATCH: Total Recalled: The story of America's wildest, largest governor recall election
Celebrity activist and former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner is reportedly mulling a run. And according to LA Magazine, so is model Angelyne, who also ran in 2003. "First of all there was Brown, then there was Gray, I think we need some pink," she said at the time.
Part of the reason so many candidates jumped into the race in 2003 -- and could do so again now -- is that the barrier to entry is relatively low. According to the California Secretary of State's office, a person who wants to run for governor must gather at least 65 signatures and pay a filing fee of $3,916.12 (it was around $3,500 in 2003).
Carey, who will be running as a "no party preference candidate," said she decided to announce her campaign before the recall qualified so that she can start gathering the signatures. She said her primary policy focus will be on solving the state's homelessness crisis and helping businesses impacted by COVID-19. She also hopes to resurrect her "Porn for Pistols" policy platform from 2003, which she says could help reduce gun violence by giving people free porn in exhange for turning in their guns.
Carey first told KGO she was mulling another run for governor last month when she was interviewed for the new documentary, "Total Recalled: The story of America's wildest, largest recall election." Since then, her husband, who she married in 2018, has been helping her form her campaign.
So, what's next? She says once the recall officially qualifies she will travel to Sacramento to formally register. After that, she plans to embark on a tour of strip clubs across the state.
WATCH: Here is the trailer. You can stream the full doc — “Total Recalled: The story of America’s wildest, largest recall election” — now on @abc7newsbayarea (and coming soon to @hulu!) https://t.co/lZdBEfwiOa pic.twitter.com/Rc1uNrDOmK— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) April 7, 2021