Senate committee gives Maldonado vote of confidence in bid for lieutenant governor

State Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, cleared a critical hurdle in his bid to become lieutenant governor on Wednesday when the Senate Rules Committee gave him a 4-0 vote of confidence.

Sens. Darrell Steinberg, Gilbert Cedillo, Robert Dutton and Jenny Oropeza voted to send Maldonado’s nomination to the full Senate for a vote sometime next week. Rules Vice Chairman Samuel Aanestad recused himself from voting because he plans to run for the currently vacant seat himself.

The committee asked “pointed questions,” Maldonado said by phone moments after the three-hour hearing adjourned at 4:30 p.m. Those questions ranged from his position on two-thirds legislative votes (he would let the electorate decide the issue), to the role he’d play as a trustee to the California State University System.

Rules Chairman Steinberg will set a date for the full Senate to vote on Maldonado’s nomination, “probably sometime next week,” Maldonado said.