Californians will soldier on for a while longer with a void in the lieutenant governor's office.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had nominated a fellow Republican, state Sen. Abel Maldonado, to fill the vacancy created when the former occupant, Democrat John Garamendi, won a seat in Congress.

Last week, the Democratic-controlled state Senate confirmed Maldonado, but the nomination entered a twilight zone in the Assembly, where most of the Democratic majority voiced displeasure over the nomination of a Republican to replace a Democrat, particularly since Maldonado has said he will seek the office in 2010.

The vote was 37 to 35 in favor of Maldonado, leading to an existential debate about whether or not he was actually confirmed.

His opponents insisted 41 votes were needed from the 80-seat Assembly to confirm him. Schwarzenegger insisted that it would take 41 no votes to halt the confirmation. The situation was not helped by the eight Assembly members who were present but didn't vote.

The governor eventually backed off a little.

"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, 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 statement.

That resets the 90-day deadline for lawmakers to act.

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