Abel Maldonado

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Abel Maldonado
Abel Maldonado.png
Former candidate for
Governor of California
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of California
Personal website
Campaign website
Abel Maldonado campaign logo
Abel Maldonado is a former Republican Lieutenant Governor of California, serving from 2010-2011. He briefly ran for Governor of California in 2014.[1]


Maldonado was a 2012 Republican candidate who sought election to the U.S. House to represent the 24th Congressional District of California. He lost in the general election.[2]

He was also former Lieutenant Governor of California. Previously a Republican senator in the California State Senate, Maldonado was appointed to the position of Lieutenant Governor of California in November 2009 to replace John Garamendi. The appointment was confirmed by both chambers of the California State Legislature in April 2010.[3] In his role as Lieutenant Governor, Maldonado also served as President of the California State Senate.

Maldonado was nationally recognized for delivering a speech entirely in Spanish at the 2000 Republican National Convention.[4]

Observers of state politics have described Maldonado as a "pragmatic centrist" and an "adept horse-trader."[5]

In August 2012, he was included in a list of 20 Latino political rising stars compiled by the San Francisco Chronicle.[6]

Political career

California Lieutenant Governor (2010-2011)


Schwarzenegger announced that he was appointing Maldonado to the position of Lieutenant Governor of California on November 23 when he was taping an episode of the Jay Leno Show. Schwarzenegger said of Maldonado, "He's a terrific, loyal man that has worked very hard in public service. But he's also into bipartisanship and post-partisanship, so he can cross the aisle. He makes decisions based on what's best for the people rather than what's best for the party. He has helped us many times pass a budget, which was very important. And he comes from an immigrant family. They came from Mexico to the United States, started with a little farm, and now they have, like, 600 acres, hundreds of people working there. So he's a great choice, I think."[7]

Republican state senators Samuel Aanestad and Jeff Denham, and Democratic state senator Dean Florez were announced candidates for the Lieutenant Governor of California seat in the 2010 elections.[8]

John Laird planned to run for Maldonado's seat in the California State Senate.[9]


Early in 2010, some California Democrats said they would fight Maldonado's nomination.

  • John Burton, state Democratic chair, flatly told a reporter that Maldonado "will not be confirmed."[10]
  • Democratic Assembly Majority Floor Leader Alberto Torrico says, "I don't believe Maldonado, through his votes, reflects middle class California values. He's not been willing to join Democrats when it comes to minimizing cuts that have devastated children and seniors. He certainly has not been willing to ask California millionaires or multinational corporations to do anything extra. So I just don't think he's a good choice."[11]
  • Assemblyman Pedro Nava says, "He has a dismal record. If you look at his voting record, I find it hard to comprehend how Democrats would vote to have him confirmed. It's clear to me, based on conversations with individuals that they have grave reservations."[11]


Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign reacted to the nomination by saying, "The best thing we can do right now is to remove Abel Maldonado from a position of importance where he can do great damage, the California State Senate, and place him in an irrelevant post, the Lieutenant Governor’s office. For once, we agree with the Governor – Abel Maldonado should be demoted to Lieutenant Governor."[9]

Jon Fleischman, vice-chair of the California Republican Party, said, "Abel Maldonado believes in big government. He believes there is no issue upon which you can’t compromise. If he wants to call himself a Republican and embrace the philosophy of the other party, it’s the height of hubris."[12]

Jeff Denham said, "It is difficult to see how a candidate who has voted for a massive tax increase could possibly win a statewide Republican primary." Denham hired the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies to measure Maldonado’s support among Republicans, finding that 84% of Republican voters would oppose Maldonado in a Republican primary for the Lieutenant Governor seat in 2010.[12]

Tony Quinn, a California pundit and former legislative staffer, said on December 9, "The likelihood is growing that the Democratic legislature, in a fit of partisan pique, will turn down Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nomination of GOP Sen. Abel Maldonado to be lieutenant governor – at least that’s what the capital rumor mill says."[13]

California State Senate (2004-2010)

Senate District 15

Maldonado represented California Senate District 15, which spans San Luis Obispo County, most of Monterey County, eastern Santa Cruz County, parts of northwestern Santa Barbara County, and parts of southwestern Santa Clara County.

Maldonado was elected to the California State Senate in 2004 and again in 2008. He would not have been able to run for re-election to the state senate in 2012 because of the state's term limits.

Legislative scorecard

Capitol Weekly, California's major weekly periodical covering the state legislature, publishes an annual legislative scorecard to pin down the political or ideological leanings of every member of the legislature based on how they voted on an assortment of bills in the most recent legislative session. The 2009 scores were based on votes on 19 bills, but did not include how legislators voted on the Proposition 1A (2009). On the scorecard, "100" is a perfect liberal score and "0" is a perfect conservative score.[14][15]

On the 2009 Capitol Weekly legislative scorecard, Maldonado ranked as a 55.[16]

2009 budget negotiations

In February 2009, Maldonado negotiated with Senate Democrats to place several constitutional amendments on the California ballot in exchange for his vote on a budget package that included about $16 billion in tax increases.

Propositions Maldonado negotiated for included:

Maldonado's vote on the budget gave Senate Democrats the 27th vote they needed to reach the 2/3rds threshold for passing a budget.[19]

Committee assignments

While in the senate, Maldonado was a member of these standing committees:

He was a vice-chair of:

"Sacramento Six"

Maldonado explains vote on 2009 budget
Senator Maldonado, along with five other Republicans in the California State Legislature voted for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's solution to the state's $41 billion dollar funding gap. The six Republicans became known as the Sacramento Six.[20]

A committee indicated that it might pursue a recall campaign against Maldonado because of his vote on the budget. The same threat was made against other Republicans in the "Sacramento Six," but none of the recall campaigns came to anything. (Most of the recall energy was directed against Anthony Adams.)[21]

In response to his critics, including Steve Poizner, Maldonado said, "Since the budget was passed, you have gone around the state criticizing it and the role six Republicans played in its passage. Your recent statements condemning Propositions 1A-1F are very frustrating. During the budget debate, which lasted over 100 days, I heard from thousands of Californians who took the time to give me their input on the state budget. But I never heard from you."[22]

California State Assembly (1998-2004)

Mayor, City of Santa Maria (1996-1998)

Santa Maria City Council (1994-1996)



See also: California Gubernatorial election, 2014

On May 20, 2013, Maldonado launched his 2014 campaign for Governor, and stated that repealing the Public Safety Realignment Act would be one of his top priorities if elected.[23] Maldonado ultimately withdrew from the race in January 2014.[1]


See also: California's 24th Congressional District elections, 2012

Maldonado ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent California's 24th District. He and district 23 incumbent Lois Capps (D) advanced past the blanket primary on June 5, 2012, defeating Chris Mitchum (R) and Matt Boutte (Ind). They faced off in the November 6, 2012, general election and Capps won.[2][24][25]

According to the Washington Post, the 24th was a new battleground as Democrats and Republicans sought to gain control of the House. 23rd District incumbent Lois Capps, displaced into the 24th with redistricting, found herself running in a district that was nearly evenly split Democratic and Republican. She formerly had a Democratic advantage in the double-digits.[26]

U.S. House, California District 24 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngLois Capps Incumbent 55.1% 156,749
     Republican Abel Maldonado 44.9% 127,746
Total Votes 284,495
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


Maldonado's campaign website listed the following issues:[27]

  • Fighting for Jobs
Excerpt: "As a business owner and farmer, I know how government gets in the way of those who want to create new jobs."
  • Encourage Investment in America
Excerpt: "During the debt ceiling debate, Apple Computers had $76 billion in cash reserves while the U.S. government had only $74 billion. At that same time, the 50 top publicly traded companies' in the world had cash balances of approximately $1.08 trillion and the top 17 U.S.-based companies had $458.2 billion in cash reserves. If Washington stops bickering and starts focusing on actually creating jobs, money will flow into the economy because billions of dollars are already on corporate balance sheets."
  • Reform the Culture of Corruption
Excerpt: "In the legislature, I exposed corruption, refused pay cuts and enacted tough reforms. In Washington, I’ll shine a bright light on those who put self-interest before the good of our country."
  • Keep Taxes Down
Excerpt: "In Congress, I’ll work to close the tax loopholes while keeping the tax burden down on working people."
  • Stop Excessive Spending
Excerpt: "As a legislator, I made tough and unpopular decisions to reduce the state deficit and angered the Sacramento power brokers."


See also: California lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010

Maldonado ran for Lieutenant Governor of California and lost to Gavin Newsom (D) in the general election.

Campaign donors


Breakdown of the source of Maldonado's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Maldonado did not win election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Maldonado's campaign committee raised a total of $1,937,470 and spent $1,904,430.[28]


Maldonado grew up on a produce farm. After graduating from Santa Maria High School, and majoring in crop science at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, he returned to the family business, where he helped grow the farm from a half acre of strawberries into a farm with 6,000 acres under cultivation that employs about 250 people.[29]

He is married to Laura Maldonado and together they have four children.

Recent news

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"Abel+Maldonado"+California&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss Abel Maldonado News Feed

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See also

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  1. 1.0 1.1 The San Francisco Chronicle, "GOP former CA Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado pulls out of 2014 governor’s race," January 16, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 CNN, "California Districts Race - 2012 Election Center," accessed December 1, 2012
  3. Sacramento Bee, "On second try, Maldonado heads for California lieutenant governor's post," April 23, 2010 (dead link)
  4. Sacramento Latino Policy Examiner, "Lt. Governor pick Maldonado faces uphill battle," November 30, 2009
  5. Los Angeles Times, "Democrats would do right to do right by Maldonado," December 7, 2009
  6. San Francisco Chronicle, "20 Latino political rising stars of 2012 (with PHOTO GALLERY)," August 25, 2012
  7. San Francisco Chronicle, "Governor names Maldonado," November 23, 2009
  8. Sacramento Bee, "Schwarzenegger picks Maldonado for lieutenant governor," November 23, 2009 (dead link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 BeyondChron, "What Should Really Matter in the Maldonado Confirmation," December 7, 2009
  10. San Francisco Chronicle, "No easy confirmation for Maldonado," February 5, 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 Mercury News, "Assembly Democrats girding for a fight over Maldonado," February 4, 2010
  12. 12.0 12.1 San Diego News Room, "The Maldonado trial: Senator waits while Legislature decides his future," December 8, 2009 (dead link)
  13. Fox and Hounds Daily, "Maldonado - The Nuclear Option," December 9, 2009
  14. Capitol Weekly, "Capitol Weekly's Legislative Scorecard," December 17, 2009
  15. Fox and Hounds Daily, "Random Thoughts on the Political Scene," December 18, 2009
  16. Capitol Weekly, "2009 Capitol Weekly State Legislative Scorecard (Archived)," accessed March 13, 2014
  17. Sacramento Bee, "Maldonado's price for budget vote: 3 constitutional amendments," February 19, 2009
  18. Ballot Access News, "California’s New Lieutenant Governor," November 23, 2009
  19. Inside Bay Area, "At last, a budget deal"
  20. Los Angeles Times, "'Sacramento Six' face conservative backlash," March 22, 2009
  21. Recall Maldonado
  22. San Francisco Chronicle, "Maldonado rebukes Poizner on budget," April 1, 2009
  23. Lompoc Record, "Former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado confirms he’ll run for governor," May 21, 2013," accessed June25, 2013
  24. California Secretary of State, "Official primary candidate list," accessed March 13, 2014
  25. California Secretary of State, "Unofficial election results," November 6, 2012 (dead link)
  26. Washington Post blog, "The 10 House districts that might surprise you," May 11, 2012
  27. Campaign website, Issues
  28. Open Secrets, "Abel Maldonado 2012 Election Cycle," accessed March 19, 2013
  29. Abel Maldonado for Governor, "Meet Abel," accessed November 13, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
California Lieutenant Governor
Succeeded by