Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has nominated a Republican state senator to fill California's recently vacated lieutenant governor seat.
Schwarzenegger says Sen. Abel Maldonado is the most qualified person for the post, which opened when Democrat John Garamendi was elected to Congress earlier this month. The governor made the announcement Monday evening on "The Jay Leno Show."
The Assembly and Senate must confirm Maldonado's appointment, which would run through 2010.
The 42-year-old Santa Maria lawmaker was one of three Republicans earlier this year to side with Schwarzenegger and Democrats in supporting a state budget that raised taxes.
Schwarzenegger says Maldonado has the courage to reach across the partisan divide.