Yet there's another Republican senator whose vote could make a difference as the all-night marathon session draws closer to 24 hours. Overnight, the governor and other legislative leaders were in closed talks with Sen. Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican from Santa Maria. But Maldonado, seen to the right, has stuck to his "thumbs down" position.
One possible reason is that Maldonado is still resentful that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't support him in his campaign for state controller in 2006. ""Where was he when I needed him?," Maldonado is quoted as saying in a report today in the San Jose Mercury News.
Another complication is Maldonado's sour relationship with Senate minority leader Dave Cogdill of Fresno. "There's a difference between managing a caucus and leading a caucus," Maldonado said.
Cox, according to my sources, is also less than inspired by Cogdill's leadership. All politics is personal, as the saying goes, and in the Senate, the backbiting among Republicans has gotten very personal.
FYI, unlike the governor, The Bee's editorial board enthusiastically endorsed Maldonado in his primary bid for controller, which he lost to Tony Strickland in 2006. At the time, we said that Maldonado "could be a strong candidate for governor one day."
"Could" is the operative word there. Political leadership is judged over time, and Maldonado's book is still being written.