SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado abandoned his long-shot GOP bid for governor of California on Thursday as his campaign was floundering for support and failing to attract the kind of donors he would need to mount a credible challenge to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The former state senator and member of a successful Central Coast farming family held a news conference in his hometown of Santa Maria to say he was dropping out of the race and would not run for any other office this year.
“I have concluded that now is not my time,” he said in prepared remarks released as he was making his formal announcement.
He said he wanted to focus “on being a full-time dad and husband” and help his daughter’s venture with a new wine business. Maldonado did not directly address the problems he has had gaining traction from voters or potential campaign donors, saying instead that he believed he had the necessary qualifications to be governor if he chose to stay in the race.
Maldonado, who lost a bid for Congress in 2012, has struggled to raise money and has held few events in recent months, even as other would-be candidates ramp up their campaigns.
His exit leaves Republican state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly as the only major candidate to announce a challenge to Brown. The Democratic governor has not yet formally declared his intention to run for re-election even though he is raising millions of dollars for a campaign.
Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari, a Republican, also is considering a run.
Brown 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.
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