Governor’s race: Maldonado drops out

Governor’s race: Maldonado drops out

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado ended his campaign for governor of California on Thursday morning, leaving a conservative state legislator as the only Republican candidate in the race. Maldonado, the state’s most prominent Latino Republican, made the announcement where his political career began at the Santa Maria City Hall.

“It’s time to step away for a while, and spend more time with my family and stay a little closer to home helping my community, as an active private citizen,” he said, according to his prepared remarks. “I know it’s cliché to say I am not running so I can spend more time with my family. Everybody says that. But the truth is, that is a major factor in my decision today.”

The son of an immigrant fieldworker turned mayor of Santa Maria, Maldonado has long been considered the Republicans’ best chance to reach out to the state’s growing Latino population, which is projected to become the state’s largest “race or ethnic group” in March. In 2000, although just a freshman state assemblyman, Maldonado was given a prominent speaking role at the Republican National Convention.

2009 tax vote damaged Maldonado’s rising star

Maldonado’s promising career stalled later in the decade with his 2009 vote for “the largest tax increase in California history.”

“It’s not surprising that Maldonado never caught fire with the voters on this campaign because of his deplorable record of raising taxes,” said Jon Fleischman, the publisher of the conservative website

In addition to struggling with the party’s conservative base, Maldonado’s candidacy failed to gain traction with the state’s top Republican donors. His last major campaign contribution reported to the Secretary of State’s Office occurred 60 days ago. According to campaign finance reports for the first half of 2013, the former state senator had raised $314,222, of which 60 percent had been spent on campaign consultants.

In September, Maldonado’s campaign went through a major staff shakeup as he ditched his expensive Washington D.C.-based campaign consultants in favor of a more grassroots operation that included Jimmy Camp, considered “one of the most highly respected Republican organizers in California.”

Tim Donnelly only GOP candidate now — but not for long

The announcement temporarily leaves Asm. Tim Donnelly, a favorite of the state’s Tea Party activists, as the only Republican challenger to Governor Jerry Brown. Donnelly, who thanked Maldonado for his years of service to the state, said that Maldonado’s decision provides voters with a stark contrast to Brown.

“With nearly 2 million Californians still out of work and California’s economy suffering, we remain focused on our message that’s resonating with voters – a real choice at the top of the ticket this fall,” Donnelly said. “Our goal in this primary has always been to clear the field, so that we can focus on our primary opponent, Jerry Brown. With the field narrowing, we intend to continue doing just that.”

However, Donnelly isn’t expected to remain the only Republican candidate for very long. Maldonado’s departure from the race could bolster the chances of moderate Republican Neel Kashkari, a former Bush administration Treasury Department official who managed the TARP financial bailout.

“I admire @abelmaldonado’s career of public service and know he has a lot more to contribute to California in the future,” Kashkari tweeted shortly after the announcement.

Kashkari, who is expected to formally announce his campaign soon, has made the state’s growing economic inequality a central theme of his tour throughout the state.

“Kashkari is packaging Republican issues in a way that’s designed to appeal to people who wouldn’t normally vote for Republicans,” observes UT San Diego columnist Steven Greenhut, who was impressed by Kashkari’s passion in a recent interview.

Jerry Brown well-positioned against all challengers

No matter which Republican candidate makes the November run-off, he is unlikely to defeat the Democratic incumbent. According to a Field Poll in December, Brown enjoys a 58 percent approval rating. By comparison, Brown’s predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger left office with an approval rating of just 22 percent.

Brown’s numbers are so strong that some have jokingly speculated that Brown could win a Republican Party primary. In the early 20th century, California gubernatorial candidates could run in both primaries.

“Ask yourself, if Jerry Brown, the powerful incumbent governor, were in a Republican primary today might he fare well against the Republican field?” posits Joel Fox, the editor of Fox & Hounds and president of the Small Business Action Committee. “The gubernatorial candidate many Republicans might think is the safest bet in the November election just may be Jerry Brown.”

Other candidates for governor include the Green Party’s Luis J. Rodriguez, who released a new campaign video Wednesday.


Write a comment
  1. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 16 January, 2014, 22:55

    Good. After he betrayed his constituents by becoming the swing vote in 2009 to score a win for the dems to raise our taxes AFTER he signed a ‘no new taxes’ pledge to get elected to office, it would be a mockery for Maldonado to run on the GOP ticket for gov. Good riddance Abel. Hang with your family and stay the heck out of politics. Do something to gradually improve your ethical values. Start by selling snake oil or go work in a brothel. If you do eventually come back and run for political office in the future be true to your ideology and run as a democrat. Don’t try to fool us again by signing pledges that you have no intention of keeping. You are a prime reason the populus deplores politicians and your state legislature only has a 15% approval rating.

    So now we’re left with Donnelly and Kashkari to knock one out of the ballpark? lol.

    Brown must laugh himself to sleep at night.

    Reply this comment
    • Dyspeptic
      Dyspeptic 17 January, 2014, 12:08

      “Do something to gradually improve your ethical values. Start by selling snake oil or go work in a brothel.”


      Reply this comment
  2. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 17 January, 2014, 12:07

    Poor Abel. He sold out for power and influence and now he has none. Couldn’t happen to a nicer schmuck. Good by and good riddance.

    Reply this comment
  3. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 17 January, 2014, 15:48

    And don’t ever, ever forget…..

    After Maldonado sold screwed the very people who sent him political donations and who elected him to the Ca Senate by betraying his written pledge not to raise taxes – the large majority his fellow Republicans in the state legislature confirmed his appointment by Schwarzenegger to the Lieutenant Governor’s seat.

    What’s the take-a-way from that?

    It’s not just Maldonado. By confirming Maldonado to the Lt. Governor’s post the Republicans in the Ca legislature gave their open approval of sellouts and traitors within their own ranks. They found it perfectly acceptable to take constituent money and votes to get elected to high office – and then to turn around and screw those same constituents at the end of the term.

    In my world soliciting money and/or votes and in return making specific promises, in form of a signed written pledge, to do or not do something while in high office, then post-election reneging on that promise in high office should constitute fraud.

    In the business world if a man took money from a client and in return signed an agreement (pledge) and failed to live by the terms of that agreement the promiser would be liable.

    Why should a politician be held to a lower standard than a businessman?

    And why would the Republicans reward such behavior?

    Many good citizens left the Republican party on account of Maldonado.

    Reply this comment
  4. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 17 January, 2014, 21:36

    What a line up…..Maldo….Blow Up The Boxes….Meg….Carly….Wilson….Huffy….Simone….who trots out next?

    Reply this comment
  5. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 18 January, 2014, 11:03

    Maldonado is a relatively sane Republican, which makes him a “RINO” and unelectable candidate for the modern wingnut party.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 18 January, 2014, 11:46

      Any politician (of whatever party) who betrayed his own constituents who gave him their money and their votes for high office based upon his promises (signed pledge) and then violated his signed pledge after his election should be barred from office. It should be written into the law that politicians who betray their campaign promises are obligated to refund all political contributions to their supporters. Afterall, if a businessman made a promises to me about his service(s) or product(s) which turned out to be bogus and, based upon those bogus promises, I purchased his service(s) or product(s) I would be entitled to a refund.

      Why not with a politician who should be held to an even higher standard than a businessman. Afterall, a politician has the power to help enact laws that we must follow. Why a lower standard than a businessman?

      Reply this comment
      • Skippingdog
        Skippingdog 19 January, 2014, 15:02

        Where I would agree with you is on the ignorant and foolish political gesture of signing a pledge to either do or not do some specific thing before you have access to the information and facts presented in our republican form of government.

        Elected officials are supposed to exercise their own best judgement about the problems before them, rather than simply serve as a remote functionary of any particular interest group.

        Reply this comment
        • LetitCollapse
          LetitCollapse 19 January, 2014, 20:20

          Regardless, he signed the pledge to garner political donations and votes. The voters fulfilled their part of the bargain by electing him to high office based upon his signed pledge and promise. Reneging on that pledge is a form of fraud since consideration changed hands. And there should be consequences for it like there would be in any business transaction when promises are broken after consideration is exchanged.

          Maldonado used his ‘best judgment’ when he signed that pledge. Once he went there he has an obligation and committement to those who elected him to office.

          When politicians are able to finagle money and votes from people and afterwards violate their signed pledges AND GET AWAY WITH IT OR EVEN GET REWARDED FOR IT it literally destroys the integrity of our political system. And once confidence in our political system is destroyed it puts our beloved nation in grave peril.

          Reply this comment
  6. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 18 January, 2014, 16:47

    No elected official should ever have to sign a “no-taxes” pledge. Maldonado realized that when he learned the truth–taxes are necessary.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 18 January, 2014, 20:59

      I noticed that you did not address the crux of my argument but only danced around it. No surprise there.

      The fact is Maldonado DID VOLUNTARILY sign the ‘no new taxes’ pledge. Therefore, he was morally and ethically obliged to HONOR IT!!! Afterall, common citizen voters gave him their money and votes to elect him to high office based upon the promises that he made to them! How would you like it if I ran for office and signed a pledge that I would do everything in my power to ensure that your pension would not be compromised. And imagine if you sent me donations and gave me your vote based upon my signed promise. Then after I was elected I authored a bill to reduce your pension by 50%. Would you feel betrayed? How would you like it? Is that the way you want our political system to operate? Based on false promises? Put yourself in the shoes of the citizen voters who sent Maldonado their money and gave him their votes. Walk a mile in THEIR shoes. Do you believe in Jesus? What did Jesus say about the golden rule???

      Reply this comment
      • Skippingdog
        Skippingdog 19 January, 2014, 15:04

        No, the more demanding “moral obligation” for Maldonado was to faithfully execute the duties of his office in a republican form of government. Any agreement or contract he made outside of that obligation is both legally moot and enforceable only through the election process we have.

        Reply this comment
        • LetitCollapse
          LetitCollapse 19 January, 2014, 20:01

          Where did I say Maldonado had a LEGAL obligation relative to the signing of the ‘no new taxes’ pledge? I said IMO that the law SHOULD force him to refund every single penny in donations from his constiuents for MORALLY and ethically betraying them by dishonoring his SIGNED PLEDGE. Like I said, if I paid a businessman for a product or service based on his SIGNED PROMISE and he reneged on that promise he would be FORCED to refund my payment. A politician should NOT be held to a LOWER STANDARD than a businessman!

          When politicians renege on SIGNED PLEDGES it destroys faith in our political system. It damages it irreparably. And when citizens lose faith, trust and hope in a political system it does severe damage to the Republic and to our beloved Nation. Empires have fallen over it. This nation should NOT tolerate liars in public office. The offense should be the equivlent to perjury and the rascal should be thrown out on his ear and told never to return. Liars in public office are extremely dangerous. It should not be tolerated yet today in America it’s become political sport!!!

          Reply this comment
  7. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 January, 2014, 17:04

    Yep. And be done with it….Pensions, roads, new XXXXL purple T’s…….

    Reply this comment

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