Maldonado faces rocky road

If Abel Maldonado, the only Latino Republican in the state Legislature, becomes California's next lieutenant governor, he will have to convince not only Democrats but fellow Republicans.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his choice of the state Senator from Santa María to fill the vacancy created when John Garamendi was elected to Congress last month.

"I am very thankful to the governor for having confidence in me and giving me this opportunity to serve the people of California as lieutenant governor," Maldonado told Vida en el Valle.

"If I'm confirmed, I will continue to work as always to make sure California residents successfully overcome all the challenges we currently face," said Maldonado, 42.

Getting the OK from the state Senate could be a problem. Fellow Republicans are still angry that Maldonado broke ranks in voting for a revised state budget. And, Democrats don't want to see a Republican taking over for a position that was occupied by a Democrat.

Maldonado has also expressed interest in running for lieutenant governor, a situation Democrats also dislike.