Former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado, three weeks after losing to Rep. Lois Capps in a race for the 24th Congressional seat by more than 9 percentage points, is back on his family’s ranch, growing wine grapes and making pinot noir and chardonnay. But while wine making — and spending time with his family after a busy campaign season — is treating him well, Maldonado sounds like he’s not done running for office.
While he wouldn’t say what, if any, intention he has to run for public office again, the 45-year-old Republican from Santa Maria said he will find a way to give back to the community. “Public service is in my blood,” he explained. Obviously disappointed by his loss to Capps, he attributed much of the defeat to running against someone on the same Democratic ticket as the president. “Barack Obama had some huge coattails, and he brought people home,” he said. Still, Maldonado went on, he was proud of the campaign he ran. “I was funded; I had a good message, good mail, good television,” he explained. But there was one thing he didn’t have: good polls informing him on where he stood leading up to Election Day. “My polls were off,” Maldonado admitted.
He said he is hopeful the election will show the Republican party it has to change and adapt to a shifting population, especially when it comes to immigration, something he made an important issue in his campaign. He is also hopeful that the election is proof-positive that the population wants those they elect to get work done. “That’s the problem with politics today,” he said. “People elected to govern don’t govern.”