"I bet Jerry Brown's wetting his pants," Burton quipped at a reception to kick off the party's annual convention in Sacramento.
Maldonado, a former state legislator and farmer from Santa Maria who was appointed lieutenant governor by GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, recently filed paperwork to start raising money for a gubernatorial run. Some GOP strategists think Maldonado's candidacy could be key in helping the embattled California Republican Party woo Latino voters.
Burton's thoughts about the potential challenger, however, were limited to an incident involving some bad smelling broccoli.
"When I think of Abel Maldonado, I think of a guy who brought a truckload of broccoli into the Capitol garage during the heat of the summer and forgot to take it out... stunk up the whole Capitol," he said.
When asked to provide more details about that incident, Burton simply said "Ask Abel, he'll remember."
Maldonado wasn't immediately available to answer Friday night.
PHOTO CREDIT: California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton in 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench