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First Take: Maldonado mania. Watson steps down. A replacement for Roger Mahony.

February 12, 2010 |  6:37 am

Michael Rothfeld reports Republican operatives loyal to Steve Poizner are trying to pressure Meg Whitman to debate Poizner at the upcoming state Republican Party convention.

After three votes, a lot of closed-door meetings and a couple of news conferences, the fight over the next lieutenant governor remained unresolved Thursday. The Assembly, which voted twice and did not confirm state Sen. Abel Maldonado's nomination, says his nomination is now dead. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger disagrees, and is planning to swear in Maldonado on Feb. 23.

Confused? Well, we're here to help. Sort of. 

It all comes down to the constitutional definition of rejection. Michael Rothfeld talks to lawyers who say we could be headed for a real legal fight.

PolitiCal blogger Anthony York and KQED's John Myers discuss the Maldonado drama in this week's Capital Notes podcast.

Rep. Diane Watson announced her retirement from Congress on Thursday and did not yet endorse a successor.  

The City Hall team reports Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is talking more job cuts.

Noam Levey looks at skyrocketing profits of health insurance companies.

And the search is on to replace Cardinal Roger Mahony.

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