As the budget drama drags through a third day (and likely soon to be night), the collective Capitol cacophony sounds out with only one question: what does Abel Maldonado want?
Maldonado, the veteran Central Coast legislator, remains in the center of the budget storm -- the Republican who many believe is most likely to be the deciding vote in both the Senate, and the Legislature, on the $42 billion deficit package now under consideration.
"Maldo," to use Capitol parlance, remains the odds-on favorite of most to be vote number 27. And not surprisingly, folks have wanted to know what he needs to be that guy.
This afternoon, Maldonado spoke to a scrum of reporters outside his Capitol office. And as you can hear below, his interests are just about every proposal rumored or gossiped about over the past 24 hours.
Before he left, I asked him to respond to what's now become an attack on Maldonado in this process: critics saying that he's angling for another run at statewide office, and the PR over this can't hurt.
We'll have to wait to see how this plays out. Both houses are now not scheduled to convene until tonight.