Four years ago, at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, then-State Senator Abel Maldonado gave a speech about his family farm, and how then-Senator Barack Obama could stand to learn a few things from Maldonado’s father, who didn’t have a high school education but learned on the farm. “My father knows more about economics than Senator Obama does with all those fancy degrees from all those schools,” Maldonado told the convention. “My father would be a good teacher for him.”

This year, now running for Congress, Maldonado won’t be making the trek to Tampa for the Republican National Convention — which starts in earnest today — instead electing to stay in California. “There are no votes on Tampa,” his spokesman said in a statement. “Abel is running to represent the 24th Congressional District and with less than 75 days to go before Election Day, Abel is spending his time and energy talking directly with Central Coast voters.”

Likewise, four years ago, Maldonado’s opponent, incumbent Representative Lois Capps, was at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, sitting with the delegation from Santa Barbara at Invesco Field during a day of entertainment leading up to Obama’s historic speech in front of an at-capacity crowd. Earlier in the week, she had taken to the Pepsi Center podium with several others to showcase women members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and participated in a press conference where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders laid out their plans for energy independence from other countries.

But this year she’ll watch the convention at two viewing parties, one on Wednesday in San Luis Obispo and one Thursday in Santa Barbara where Jeff Bridges and The Abiders will play. Both are fundraisers for her campaign. Her spokesman said the convention is being held later than normal, after Labor Day. Because of that, Congresswoman Capps “wanted to stay and keep working every day to help Central Coast families,” he said in a statement. “That week she will be meeting with residents and businesses to discuss investments in infrastructure, research, and education to help our economy recover.”


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