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Maldonado eyes a congressional seat 

Former Santa Maria mayor and California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado appears ready for the next step in his political career, forming a campaign committee to make a congressional run in 2012.

The Federal Elections Commission on Feb. 18 confirmed Maldonado filed the necessary paperwork to open an exploratory committee, which can begin collecting campaign funds.

Born and raised on the Central Coast, Maldonado would likely contest incumbent U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) in the 23rd Congressional District, though impending redistricting could change the shape and political makeup of the highly gerrymandered district. Capps is serving her seventh two-year term in Congress after winning reelection in November over Republican contender Tom Watson and Independent candidate John Hager.

The oldest son of immigrants, Maldonado supports temporary worker permits for farmworkers. He’s indicated his top priorities in Congress would be strengthening small businesses, increasing jobs, and controlling
deficit spending.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Maldonado to the post of lieutenant governor in 2010, but the 43-year-old was denied a full term, losing to Democrat Gavin Newsom in November’s general election.

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