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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger questioned Tuesday why Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has not yet asked his house to confirm Republican state Sen. Abel Maldonado as lieutenant governor.

"I have no idea what Speaker Pérez is doing with the confirmation hearings," Schwarzenegger said Tuesday at a Capitol press conference. "I think we all are somewhat frustrated because he has been now promising me five times at least that he is putting him up for confirmation."

"So, I mean, I have no idea," he added. "I don't know why he is not getting it done. I don't know why he is confused about it or what is going on with his leadership."

Schwarzenegger resubmitted Maldonado's nomination in February after the GOP senator failed to get enough Assembly votes to win confirmation. Both houses must confirm Maldonado on a majority vote. He would fill the lieutenant governor vacancy left when Democrat John Garamendi went to Congress.

Pérez voted against Maldonado in February, although he has said he will give the senator an opportunity to win confirmation again. Back then, Pérez said Maldonado has "got to go and find his 41 votes." The Legislature faces a May 17 deadline.

"Like most Californians, the Speaker is focused on jobs reform and recovery," said Pérez spokeswoman Shannon Murphy, in a statement. "All jobs, not just one that was cooked up in a backroom deal."

If Democrats wait until April 22 to confirm, they can force the potential runoff election for Maldonado's Senate seat to coincide with the November general election, when more Democrats are expected to vote. If Democrats win that seat, they could gain a two-thirds majority in the Senate.


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