Whitman recently launched her Latino Coalition; her campaign said it meant to "engage Latinos in the Republican Party and involve them in unprecedented ways."
Unintended consequences surface in politics as in life, and that is another concern for those trying to figure out whether to block Maldonado or sanction his appointment. The state's last free-for-all nomination process involved Gov. George Deukmejian's appointment of a little-known Republican member of Congress, Dan Lungren, as treasurer after the death of incumbent Democrat Jesse M. Unruh in 1987.
After a raucous debate, the nomination was scuttled by Senate Democrats. And Lungren's martyrdom helped propel him into two terms as attorney general and a run for governor as the GOP nominee in 1998. He is now back in Congress.
The circumstances were different -- Lungren was a dependable GOP vote -- but Democrats with memories were a little queasy last week about potentially turning a little-known legislator into a Latino victim of politics-as-usual.