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Arnold to Pick Abel Maldonado for Lt-Gov

by: Robert Cruickshank

Mon Nov 23, 2009 at 17:21:27 PM PST


This is truly joyous news:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today said he would appoint Republican state Sen. Abel Maldonado to fill the vacant lieutenant governor's job, perhaps setting off a partisan squabble over his confirmation.

Arnold announced this on the Leno show, taped earlier in Burbank, and the Gov's office confirmed it.

I am one happy camper. This is perhaps the best news progressives AND Democrats have gotten in this state all year long. I live in SD-15, and Abel Maldonado is, sadly, my State Senator. He is a joke of a Senator, a "moderate" politician when it is convenient for him, a conservative one generally speaking. He only won re-election last year because he and Don Perata cut a terrible deal in 2007, where Perata promised to stop a Democratic primary challenge in exchange for his vote on that budget deal.

But more importantly, this seat - SD-15 - is one of the two seats we need to reach 2/3rds in the State Senate. And like SD-12, it is a majority Democratic seat. The current registration numbers are 41% Dem, 34.5% Rep, and 23% DTS. Arnold Schwarzenegger has just created a huge and invaluable opening for us to break the Zombie Death Cult grip on the State Senate.

If, that is, Senate Democrats don't fuck it up:

Democrats may object to Schwarzenegger appointing a Republican to a job a Democrat was elected to perform. Moreover, two Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate are planning to run for lieutenant governor next year and may be unwilling to confirm someone who then could run against them as the incumbent.

That Senate Democrat is Dean Florez. We don't yet know if he would try and block this, but Senate Democrats would be extremely foolish if they did so. Former Assemblymember John Laird might be willing to run here in SD-15, and he can win this seat, even against a likely campaign from San Luis Obispo Republican (and Assembly Minority Leader) Sam Blakeslee. Laird is popular in the northern half of the district, and can win in the SLO/Santa Maria part of the district as well.

The highest priority for ANY Senate Democrat right now is getting to 2/3rds. Don Perata already screwed the pooch on that last year (we could have beaten Maldonado with a real Dem challenger). We cannot miss that opportunity again.

Especially since Maldonado will be a weak candidate. He enraged the right-wing with his vote for the tax increases in February, and he'll have a very difficult time winning a primary campaign against Jeff Denham and Sam Aanestad, even with the power of incumbency. If he does somehow survive the election, I have every bit of confidence that either Dean Florez or Janice Hahn can beat Maldonado in November.

We can make Monterey County ground zero in the battle for 2/3rds in the State Senate - and it's a fight we can win. Senate Democrats must keep their eye on the ball and confirm Abel Maldonado as Lieutenant Governor, a short-term price worth paying for the holy grail of 2/3rds in the State Senate.

UPDATE: Florez speaks, and it's not good:

It is especially troubling to see the Governor miss out on an opportunity to save taxpayer money by rewarding Senator Maldonado with a post that could be left open until the next election only months away.

At minimum, since the Lieutenant Governor seat was held by a Democrat, appointing a Republican to the post only complicates and heightens the partisan divide.

The Governor has put Senator Maldonado in a difficult position to say the least. I don't see the Senate confirming him.

Emphasis mine.

That's really not a good thing. We need to push back, HARD, on this nonsense. Senate Democrats absolutely must confirm Maldonado. It is imperative that they do so, in order to win 2/3rds. We cannot protect one Senator at the expense of our state's future.

Robert Cruickshank :: Arnold to Pick Abel Maldonado for Lt-Gov
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We cannot protect one Senator at the expense of our state's future. (0.00 / 0)
Don Perata respectfully disagrees.

Indeed (0.00 / 0)
And I wonder how many State Senators are pleased with the fruit of Perata's actions, particularly the top-two primary on the June ballot.

I hope I'm not asking too much of them, but Senate Democrats need to show they have an ounce of sense and ensure that this confirmation happens. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

That is, if they actually care about this state instead of their own futures.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave


[ Parent ]
Maldo needs to get confirmed (0.00 / 0)
It's not even clear how many Republican votes Maldo will get, with Denham whipping support against him. However, he needs to get confirmed. As much as I respect Dean Florez..., Maldo's seat is more important than a few months in the LG's office.

I think?

Sounds reasonable to me (0.00 / 0)
What does a Lt Gov so anyway?  
Might Maldanado refuse?

Lieutenant Governor (0.00 / 0)
has a seat on several statewide boards and commissions.  But I'll take a Republican LTGov for a few months at a chance at that Senate Seat, that's for sure.

[ Parent ]
Becomes a UC Regent (0.00 / 0)
He would be just as terrible as the others no doubt. Dem or GOP they are a disappointing bunch.

Guess I still have San Francisco hippie values, although I'm an engineer

[ Parent ]
True (0.00 / 0)
But as we saw last week, his vote wouldn't have swung that outcome.

He would be the 3rd member of the State Lands Commission, but Maldonado did vote against the Tranquillon Ridge drilling project earlier this year.

In any case, we can win 2/3rds in the State Senate next year if Maldonado is confirmed. If he is not confirmed, we cannot win it. We will see if the Senate Democrats really are serious about majority rule or not by their actions on the Maldonado confirmation.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave


[ Parent ]
Maldo needs to get confirmed (0.00 / 0)
It's not even clear how many Republican votes Maldo will get, with Denham whipping support against him. However, he needs to get confirmed. As much as I respect Dean Florez..., Maldo's seat is more important than a few months in the LG's office.

I think?

Agreed. (0.00 / 0)
But the only way this is going to work is if we can Scozzofava the Republicans and make sure only one Dem goes for it.

Also, this may hurt chances of picking up AD-33 if it draws out a few of the Republicans in that race, but Robert says there's actually a Dem registration advantage in SD-15. That's not the case in AD-33, but it did go for Obama. Maybe SD-15 is a better target...

...it's tough to care if the Democrats are going to have a cock contest over the LG office.


[ Parent ]
P.S. (0.00 / 0)
There is no doubt in my mind that Blakeslee will run. He filed his paperwork in late 2008 to run for the seat in 2012.

Wrote to Mark Leno (0.00 / 0)
Asked him to confirm Abel for exactly the reasons you specify.

And what kind of a Democrat can't hang an appointment by Arnold around a GOP's neck next November? If he can't, he doesn't deserve to win the Lite Guv.


Florez and Maldonado (0.00 / 0)
At the L.A. Stonewall meeting tonight, Florez said he would fight the Maldonado nomination as majority leader, on the grounds that "it's a Democratic seat."  He said Maldonado should not be rewarded for holding the state budget hostage.

Later in the meeting, attorney general candidate Ted Lieu said he believes federal anti-drug laws trump the state medical marijuana law, and therefore sale or use of marijuana is illegal.  The other AG candidates who were present (Nava, Delgadillo, and Kelly) spoke in favor of a reasonably regulated medical marijuana program.


Know what else is a Democratic seat? (5.00 / 1)
SD-15.

If Florez blocks the confirmation and prevents us from getting to 2/3rds next year, then why should we reward him with the Lt. Gov's seat?

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave


[ Parent ]
He'll lose my vote... (0.00 / 0)
And everyone else I can speak to.

[ Parent ]
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