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Breaking down the Maldonado confirmation vote

By Josh Richman
Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 3:50 pm in 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, California State Senate, Lt. Governor, Sam Aanestad.

The state Senate this afternoon voted 25-7 to confirm Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger’s nomination of state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, as lieutenant governor; the governor will swear him into office tomorrow.

As I’d said Friday on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California,” don’t mistake this for an instance of politics being put aside. Democrats supported Maldonado only because they want him out of the Senate so they can try to win his 15th State Senate District seat, and only now because confirming him earlier wouldn’t have allowed the SD-15 special election to be consolidated with November’s general election, when Democrats believe heavier turnout will give them an advantage.

That’s what California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring alluded to in his statement today:

“On behalf of the California Republican Party, let me be the first to congratulate State Senator Abel Maldonado on his successful confirmation as Lieutenant Governor today. It’s gratifying that after five months, Sacramento Democrats could finally muster up the votes needed for a decision that should have taken them 10 minutes to confirm a clearly qualified candidate appointed by the Governor within his constitutional authority.

“Considering the legislature’s deadline for passing a state budget is less than 60 days from now, the California Republican Party hopes that Speaker Perez, Speaker Pro Tem Steinberg and the Democrat caucus are ready to stop wasting more time calculating what’s best for their party and start taking responsibility for finding fiscal solutions that don’t put more of a burden on California taxpayers.”

But five of the seven votes against confirmation today were from Republicans. The seven were:

  • Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, who’s also running in the GOP lieutenant governor primary in June;
  • Jeff Denham, R-Merced, who withdrew from the GOP lieutenant governor primary race soon after Schwarzenegger nominated Maldonado late last year;
  • Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego;
  • Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach;
  • George Runner, R-Antelope Valley;
  • Mark Wyland, R-Escondito; and
  • Leland Yee, D-San Francisco
  • (UPDATE @ 6:06 P.M.: It occurs to me that, for context’s sake, I should note that of the four Republicans besides Aanestad who opposed Maldonado’s confirmation, three might’ve had electoral motivations as well. Denham is running against Richard Pombo for the GOP nomination in the 19th Congressional District; Harman is running against Steve Cooley and John Eastman for the GOP nomination for Attorney General; and Runner is running against Barbara Alby, George Nakanishi and Edward Streichman in the GOP primary for the state Board of Equalization’s District 2 seat. Each would want to outflank his primary rivals on the right and so, one presumes, would be quick to criticize Maldonado’s past willingness to vote for tax hikes.)

    Also, neither Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto (who preceded current Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, in that leadership role) nor Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga (who will succeed Hollingsworth in that role) cast votes today, though they were reportedly present. So, not an awe-inspiring show of GOP support, all told.

    Last week’s Assembly vote, in the final reckoning, was 53-21. The only East Bay Assembly member voting in favor of confirmation was Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo. Voting against confirmation were Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley; Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley; Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda; Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch; and Alberto Torrico, D-Newark. The only Assembly Republican to vote against Maldonado’s confirmation was Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who is currently a GOP U.S. Senate primary candidate.

    Maldonado issued a statement today:

    “I am humbled and honored to serve the people of California as their 47th Lieutenant Governor.

    “I’ve spent my career focused on what’s best for the people of this state – not political bosses or special interests – and I vow to continue my commitment to California’s people in this role.

    “As your Lieutenant Governor I will work hand and hand with the Governor as his promoter-in-chief of California to create and retain jobs while partnering with the education community to plan for our future workforce needs.

    “I will continue my work as a reformer while keeping an eye on government waste to ensure elected representatives are not abusing the trust of the people who put them in office.

    “The California dream is alive and well and it’s time for Sacramento to re-earn the trust of the people – I will be the people’s voice in the Capitol.”

    Replied Aanestad:

    “Today, the Governor and his politicians chose their Lt. Governor. This June, however, Republican voters will have their say.

    “Voters can either choose Abel Maldonado, who broke his promise to the voters by making a deal in exchange for his vote for the largest tax hike in California history; or they can choose Sam Aanestad, who is endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Congressman Tom McClintock because he has kept his promise to not raise taxes.

    “The choice is up to the people, not the politicians.”

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