"Oh, I bet Jerry Brown is wetting his pants," he quipped Friday before speaking during the opening night of his party's convention here in Sacramento.
Maldonado filed paperwork earlier this month to begin raising money for a potential gubernatorial campaign. A former state lawmaker, he was appointed as lieutenant governor by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but lost the seat to Gavin Newsom in the 2010 election.
Maldonado also fell short in a congressional race in Santa Barbara County last year.
Democrats are feeling confident heading into next year's elections. They currently hold every statewide elected position in California, and last November they secured two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and the Assembly.
Burton said he hopes Democrats can pick up more legislative seats in the Inland Empire and the Central Valley.
Brown is missing his party's convention because he is traveling in China with a trade delegation.