One Step Closer to a 2/3 Majority

The Senate Rules Committee just voted 4-0 to send Abel Maldonado’s nomination as Lt. Governor to the floor of the Senate. Democrats Darrell Steinberg, Gil Cedillo and Jenny Oropeza joined Republican Bob Dutton in voting for the confirmation. The other Republican on the committee, Sam Aanestad, abstained since he is challenging Maldonado for Lt. Gov. in the GOP primary.

But before the vote, there were some interesting moments for those of us watching on the Cal Channel, where Steinberg pushed Maldonado to answer some very well-framed questions on budget cuts, leading Maldonado to express regret for some of the reckless and damaging budget cuts he voted for Some of the key things Maldonado said, as tweeted by KQED’s John Myers:

• Maldonado’s view on offshore drilling: “Every day I make myself a promise to do everything I can do to bring those platforms down.” But when it comes to Tranquillon Ridge, “If I had an assurance (feds would OK removal of oil rigs in future) it’s something I would look at.”

• Agrees that there is connection between education budget cuts and California’s unemployment rate, in response to a brilliantly framed question from Steinberg. Hopefully Senate Dems are planning to make budget cuts a jobs issue.

• Maldonado “doesn’t see how anyone can afford another fee hike at the UC/CSU campuses” and is open to a 3% withholding for independent contractors – but he opposes repealing the 2/3rds rule, which makes sense since he’s by far its biggest beneficiary.

Nobody spoke against his confirmation at the committee hearing, which of course doesn’t guarantee anything when the nomination comes to the Senate floor. But it does mean California Democrats are one step closer to a 2/3rds majority – and I’m one step closer to being able to replace Abel Maldonado with John Laird as my State Senator. (You all have no idea how much it drives me nuts to go past his office in downtown Monterey and read “Senator Abel Maldonado” on the sign.)

As I explained in the SacBee today:

“The lieutenant governor’s office is a low priority compared to the two-thirds majority,” said Robert Cruickshank, Monterey County Democratic Party vice chairman.

Cruickshank said he’s confident Democrats would put a lot of energy into winning Maldonado’s seat. He’s also confident, he said, that a Democrat could beat any Republican running later for the lieutenant governor’s office.

Democrats need to be taking the offensive here in California. Republicans and their policies remain very unpopular here. We Democrats should have nothing to fear with an open seat in SD-15, which voted for Obama by 20 points and has a 7 point Democratic registration advantage.

And with John Laird as our candidate, we’re poised to take back the Central Coast.

3 thoughts on “One Step Closer to a 2/3 Majority”

  1. The Vice-Chair of the Monterey Co. Dem Party should be supporting a Democrat to fill the seat held by a Democrat, a seat John Garamendi won by over 350,000 votes.  Frankly one Senate seat is not worth the Lt Governor’s seat.  Putting a Republican a heartbeat from the Governor’s office is foolish.  Republicans fight for every advantage, why do us Democrats insist on giving away our power again and again ?  Robert, I regret that you are part of this crowd and you are indeed damaging to the Democratic Party.  I’m happy you want to fight to replace your senator with a Democrat, I’m sorry you want to foist this Republican on the rest of the entire state.

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