Schwarzenegger will reset clock on lieutenant governor pick

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has abandoned plans to swear in Abel Maldonado as lieutenant governor and intends to re-nominate him to the post, starting a new 90-day clock to confirm him.

"I intend to withdraw and resubmit the nomination of Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor back to the Legislature and ask the Assembly to take the vote again until a majority decision is reached, one way or another," Schwarzenegger said in a written statement Friday.

Schwarzenegger said he was making the move "in an effort to avoid wasting time and energy on litigation that should be spent passing a jobs package that will get Californians back to work."

The governor's move could end a deadlock in which the Assembly refused to confirm Maldonado on Thursday, prompting the governor to announce immediately that he would swear the Santa Maria Republican into office anyhow.

The fight between the two branches of government centers on differences in interpreting two sentences of the state Constitution.

The Assembly's final vote Thursday was 37-35 in favor of Maldonado's confirmation, four votes shy of approval.

Schwarzenegger contends that Maldonado legally can assume the vacant office because there were not 41 votes to either confirm or reject him. The Assembly disagrees, arguing the nomination died for failure to win a majority of the house.

Maldonado applauded the governor's move Friday.

"Let me be clear — I will not waste a dollar of taxpayer money fighting the lawsuit Democrats are sure to bring to protect what they feel is their office," he said in a statement.

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