Gubernatorial hopeful to make 'major announcement'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a Republican candidate for governor, has scheduled a news conference Thursday morning for what his campaign calls a "major announcement."
Maldonado, a former state senator who last year lost a bid for Congress, has struggled to raise money and has held few events in recent months, even as other would-be candidates ramp up their campaigns.
Maldonado's campaign manager, Ron Nehring, declined Wednesday night to say what Maldonado would discuss or whether he planned to stay in the race.
"If he was going to discuss it in advance, why hold it?" Nehring said in an email, referring to the news conference in Maldonado's hometown of Santa Maria. "All I can say is he'll discuss what he wants to discuss tomorrow."
An email announcement about the event said it would include remarks by former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen and be followed by a reception. Late Wednesday night, Maldonado sent a short message via Twitter, perhaps hinting at his intentions: "Jerry Brown is a good Governor; I'd be a better one."
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, is expected to seek re-election and has amassed nearly $17 million for a potential campaign. He is considered a formidable foe for any would-be opponent.
A December poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that half of likely voters approve of the job Brown is doing as governor. If the primary had been held then, the poll found that just 7 percent of likely voters would cast their ballot for Maldonado in the state's new top-two primary.
In addition, nearly a quarter of likely voters who are Republican have an unfavorable opinion of Maldonado, as do a similar number of independent likely voters, the poll found.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, had 16 percent support among likely voters.
Maldonado helped advance California's revamped primary system, in which the top two vote getters will advance to the November general election, regardless of their political party.
In exchange for his vote to raise taxes during a 2009 budget crisis, Maldonado persuaded former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to place the new primary system on the ballot, and voters approved it in 2010. That deal angered Maldonado's fellow Republicans, many of whom opposed the tax increase and the new primary system.
Maldonado has struggled to raise money since announcing his gubernatorial bid last year, collecting nearly $370,000 but spending much of it on a team of campaign consultants he later fired. He has not reported a major campaign contribution since November, according to records filed with the secretary of state's office.