Schwarzenegger hopes Maldonado nomination will pass this time around

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday asked the California Legislature to reconsider Abel Maldonado, his failed nominee for lieutenant governor, chastising Democrats for derailing his choice over partisan politics.

Schwarzenegger resubmitted the name of Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, less than a week after the Assembly rejected him. The Senate confirmed Maldonado’s nomination on a bipartisan vote.

Schwarzenegger told reporters at a Capitol news conference that he hopes the outcome will be different this time. He called on Assembly Democrats to set aside partisan politics and give Maldonado the job.

“I’m a big believer that sequels can be even better than the original,” Schwarzenegger told reporters when asked why lawmakers would change their vote.

The governor’s decision to renominate Maldonado is a shift in strategy. Schwarzenegger had intended to override the Assembly and put Maldonado into the position because lawmakers failed to garner an absolute majority of 41 votes against him. He was voted down, with 37 votes for, 35 against and no true majority either way.

Schwarzenegger was immediately challenged by the Assembly Speaker’s office and backed down, saying he didn’t want to spend taxpayer money on a legal battle against the Legislature.

The Legislature has 90 days to act. If it takes no action, Maldonado will automatically assume the post.

Maldonado, who is running for the lieutenant governor’s seat in this year’s election, urged Democrats to act quickly on his nomination.

“The question by the Legislature isn’t whether I’m a qualified candidate in November,” Maldonado said. “The question is pretty simple: Am I fit to serve?”