Abel Maldonado attends a press event held by by opposing candidate Gavin… (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles…)
Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, long rumored to be considering a challenge to Gov. Jerry Brown, filed paperwork Thursday that allows him to begin raising money for a gubernatorial campaign.
Maldonado, 45, is a Republican who previously was elected to the state Senate and Assembly and was mayor of Santa Maria, where he lives. As a state senator, he was among a handful of GOP legislators to cross party lines to vote for a tax increase in 2009.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger subsequently appointed him lieutenant governor. Maldonado later sought election to that office but lost to Gavin Newsom.
Last year, Maldonado, the son of Mexican American farmworkers, lost a congressional contest to Rep. Lois Capps in Santa Barbara County.
Brown will be up for reelection in 2014, and Maldonado has begun assembling a campaign team. John Weaver, who worked on John McCain's and Jon Huntsman’s presidential bids, will serve as senior advisor, according to GOP ad man Fred Davis, who will direct advertising strategy.
Vincent Harris will lead online efforts. Michael Sowers and Matthew Jubitz will oversee fundraising.
Maldonado was not immediately available for comment.
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