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4-way battle for Calif. lieutenant governor

June 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
While the governor's race is getting most of the attention, there is also a battle in the primaries for California lieutenant governor. Thirteen candidates want the job of California's second-in-command. On June 8, voters in the Democratic and Republican primaries will narrow the field to just two.

The incumbent hoping to hold onto the job is moderate Republican Abel Maldonado. He was appointed to fill-in the remainder of the term left open by John Garamendi.

"I never forget whose money government spends. It's the people's money," said Maldonando. "It's not the politicians' money. And I've shown that I can work in a bipartisan way. I've got local government experience, and I have real-world experience."

With 12 years in the state legislature, conservative state Senator Sam Aanestad believes his experience sets him apart from the other GOP candidates. He says job growth needs to be a top priority.

"I think the primary job that lieutenant governor could be doing is going about securing more jobs for California, trying to keep business here and entice business to come here," said Aanestad.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn are squaring off to be the Democratic nominee. Newsom says the changes he's made in San Francisco would benefit all of California. He points to his success with healthcare reform.

"We're the only city in the United States of America with universal health care, a public option, a public plan," said Newsom. "We've done it without raising taxes, regardless of pre-existing conditions and your ability to pay. San Francisco provides that basic care."

Newsom has faced criticism. He was set to run for governor before switching to the lieutenant governor race, a move he defends.

"I'm focused on policy. I'm focused on the future. I'm focused on things that can bring this state back to its prominence: in education reform, economic development, workforce training," said Newsom.

But his opponent accuses him of running for an office to further his political career.

"It's clear that he wanted to become governor, but he didn't have what it took to be governor of California, so he decided to jump into what he considered a lesser role," said Janice Hahn. "

Hahn says as lieutenant governor she would focus on the economy and work to generate new revenue to fix a broken California.

"We need an oil-severance tax here in California. Other states do it. Let's charge them for taking oil out of the ground and put that money towards balancing our budget, put that money toward funding higher education," said Hahn.

The job of lieutenant governor includes filling in as governor when the need arises; sitting on the State Lands Commission; chairing the California Commission for Economic Development; and serving on the governing boards of the California State and University of California systems.

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