Hahn: Don't Confirm Abel Maldonado [Updated]

L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn touted her credentials for lieutenant governor at a forum on Sunday night at Olympic High School in Santa Monica.

After the forum, Hahn said she is opposed to confirming Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, to fill the vacant lieutenant governor's position. Maldonado is one of two Republicans running for the job this year. His nomination has been blocked by Assembly Democrats, who seem to believe that their party's nominee will fare better in the fall if Maldonado isn't running as an incumbent.

The episode has been cited as another example of partisan gridlock, and some Democrats have called for Maldonado's confirmation. But Hahn, who is running against Sen. Dean Florez and (probably) San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for the Democratic nomination, argues the position can remain unfilled until November.

"I think it should be left open between now and then," she said, citing the oft-repeated concern over the cost of a special election to fill Maldonado's seat. "The governor should have nominated someone who wasn't running."

Hahn also said that Newsom's wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, lobbied the California Young Democrats to delay their endorsement until after Newsom decides whether to run. [UPDATE: "Absolutely false," says Newsom aide Peter Ragone.] The organization, however, endorsed Hahn on Saturday.

Hahn's campaign strategist, Garry South, let loose on Newsom this week, noting that his former client had repeatedly said he had no interest in running for lieutenant governor. Hahn echoed those comments.

"He's telling people he wants to be in it," Hahn said. "But on so many occasions, he said he doesn't know what the job does... I do want this job. I know what the job does."

Florez was supposed to debate Hahn on Sunday, but dropped out at the last minute, citing a family emergency. Newsom has until March 12 to file.


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