Abel Maldonado at Goleta Beach
Paul Wellman

Former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado from Santa Maria has filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission to run for office in California’s 23rd Congressional District, a seat currently held by Representative Lois Capps (D).

Maldonado, a Republican who was nominated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace John Garamendi as lieutenant governor, lost the 2010 election for the same seat to former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. Maldonado is a former city councilmember and mayor of Santa Maria, and served in the Assembly and State Senate before moving to his spot as lieutenant governor.

Capps, meanwhile, won reelection in November 2010, with 57.8 percent of the vote and has been in firm control of the district seat for more than a decade.

This year the district lines will be redrawn by the Citizen’s Redistricting Committee, which means the 23rd will look very different by the time the 2012 election comes along. Capps’s district — sometimes called the Ribbon of Shame – is one in particular that’s been singled out by critics as needing major adjustment. The thin stretch of coast extends from San Luis Obispo County down into Ventura County.

While Maldonado’s people couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, Capps’s spokesperson, Ashley Schapitl, issued the following statement on the announcement: “Congresswoman Capps will be running for reelection and will do so with a strong grassroots campaign — just like she always has. She’s prepared for a competitive race regardless of who her opponents will be. The voters of California’s 23rd congressional district just asked her to continue to represent them in Congress, and that’s what she’s focused on doing right now — her job.”

“She’s working on behalf of her constituents,” Schapitl wrote, “to create the jobs of today and tomorrow, ensure our workforce is prepared for the 21st century economy, and to fight back against the repeal of the health care law and other critical programs important to her constituents on the Central Coast.”


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