Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's hard out here for a moderate

Remember good ol' Abel Maldonado?  He was the Republican California state senator who was willing to vote for Governor Schwarzenegger's budget last year, a move that seemed likely to cost him his career.  Well, Arnold decided to repay him by appointing him lieutenant governor, replacing John Garamendi, who won a seat in the U.S. House late last year.  But Maldonado needs the approval of both chambers in the legislature to take the job.

This is tricky, since, as Boris Shor notes today, Maldonado is caught between the two parties.  He's one of the most liberal Republicans the state has seen in decades, but he's also too conservative for the Democrats.  The system is rigged against moderates like this -- they almost never make it through the primaries, and when they do, they usually get de-nominated or even recalled.  The only reason he has any shot at public office today is because of actual moderate Arnold Schwarzenegger who, let's remember, got into office via a recall election which had no primary.

Anyway, I haven't had a chance to analyze the vote yet, but it's looking like the Maldonado vote is some sort of Cofex, with the quasi-moderates supporting him and both liberals and conservatives opposing.  He survived a state senate vote, but the Assembly is a tossup right now, and Schwarzenegger is coming up with some creative interpretations of the constitution to keep this nomination alive.

Stay tuned.

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