Someone once observed, rather archly, that the California lieutenant governor's only real job is to check the newspaper each morning, make sure the governor is still alive, and then find a service club to address.
Unlike the U.S. vice president, the lieutenant governor is elected separately, not as part of a ticket.
The "light governor" doesn't even have to be of the same political party as the governor.
Although Republicans have held the governorship for 19 of the last 32 years, there's been only one Republican lieutenant governor during that period, record producer Mike Curb, and his single term was especially undistinguished.
He clumsily tried to appoint some judges while then- Gov. Jerry Brown was out of state, only to have the appointments quickly rescinded.
Curb acted under a section of the state constitution, rendered meaningless by modern communications technology, designating the lieutenant governor as the acting governor when the governor leaves the state.
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