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Schwarzenegger names new lieutenant governor [Updated]

November 23, 2009 |  5:12 pm

State Sen. Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican from Santa Maria who has parted with his caucus on key votes at the request of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been chosen by Schwarzenegger to be the next lieutenant governor.

Schwarzenegger made the announcement today at a taping of "The Jay Leno Show."

If confirmed by the Legislature, Maldonado would replace John Garamendi, a Walnut Grove Democrat who was recently elected to Congress.

[Updated 6 p.m.: The governor called Maldonado “a terrific, loyal man that has worked very hard in public service.  But he’s also into bipartisanship and post-partisanship, so he can cross the aisle.

"He makes decisions based on what’s best for the people rather than what’s best for the party," Schwarzenegger said. "He has helped us...pass a budget, which was very important.”

An earlier version of this post stated that Maldonado's appointment must be confirmed by the state Senate. He must be approved by the Assembly as well.]

-- Evan Halper in Sacramento

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