Abel Maldonado
Paul Wellman (file)

Former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado told the San Francisco Chronicle he has formed a committee for a 2014 gubernatorial run, the first formal step in the process that allows him to start fundraising.

If the Republican Maldonado does decide to run for governor against Governor Jerry Brown, that leaves the door wide open for another Republican to challenge incumbent Representative Lois Capps in the 24th Congressional District. Maldonado didn’t return a call from The Santa Barbara Independent seeking comment.

Capps beat Maldonado by nearly 10 percentage points last November. Many people thought that the son of an immigrant and the state’s highest-ranking Latino in decades would give the 24th another shot, especially in a midterm election where the conditions would be more favorable for him. But the buzz coming out of last month’s state GOP convention was a possible Maldonado run at the governor’s seat. “I received a lot of encouragement, and I believe it’s time for the (Republican) party to go in a different direction,” Maldonado told the Chronicle. He’s already hired a strategist and other personnel, he told the paper.

So, the Republicans may have to turn elsewhere to challenge Capps, who said in a statement to The Independent last month that she planned to run again in 2014. One name being thrown around is former state legislator Sam Blakeslee, who served in both the Assembly and the Senate. He has connections throughout the state and name recognition in much of the district.

A conservative Democrat, Paul Coyne, officially announced his candidacy earlier this week. He recently stepped down from his banking position to campaign full-time. The 24th encompasses all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and a portion of Ventura.


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