Santa Maria State Senator Abel Maldonado – one of California’s most prominent Republican Latinos – apologized to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for questioning the governor’s loyalty to Latinos and Latino issues. Maldonado had complained to reporters from the Los Angeles Times that Schwarzenegger did not spend enough time in Mexico and cared only about himself. Maldonado, long considered a rising star within California’s Republican circles, hitched his political fortunes to Schwarzenegger’s wagon early on, supporting the governor and his initiatives energetically and often. But when Schwarzenegger declined to endorse Maldonado’s bid to be the party’s nominee for state controller, the senator’s enthusiasm for the governor waned, and his remarks grew more critical. Late last week, Maldonado apologized, saying he would continue to support Schwarzenegger’s efforts. Two days later, Maldonado’s longtime press spokesman Tom Kise announced he was resigning to take a job with the governor’s office.

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