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Abel Maldonado hopes for endorsement from GOP opponent Chris Mitchum

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado is flanked by daughter Erika and Dr. Rene Bravo in front of the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse on March 23.
Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado is flanked by daughter Erika and Dr. Rene Bravo in front of the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse on March 23. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Central Coast Republican congressional candidate Abel Maldonado is still hoping that his chief Republican opponent in the June 5 primary will endorse him in his November race against incumbent Democrat Lois Capps. But so far it hasn’t happened.

Chris Mitchum “needs some time” after “a spirited race,” Maldonado aide Brandon Gesicki told The Tribune on Monday.

“The most important thing is to defeat Lois Capps,” Gesicki said.

In a four-candidate primary, Democrat Capps led the field, followed by Maldonado, Mitchum and non-aligned candidate Matt Boutté. Under the state’s new rules for primary elections, the top two candidates move on to the November election.

Generally, when a candidate from one political party loses a primary election to another candidate from the same party, the losing candidate joins forces against the candidate from the opposing party.

If that script had played out in this case, Mitchum would have backed Maldonado.

But although he congratulated Maldonado, and wished him well, Mitchum has not endorsed him. The Tea Party Republican told the online political site Noozhawk.com, "I strongly support political principles that Abel Maldonado obviously doesn’t share and, on that basis, I cannot endorse him.”

“For me to do so,” he added, “would violate the principles and the trust of my loyal 25,000 supporters who voted for me.”

"If we don’t stand for something, we stand for nothing," Mitchum said.

The Capps camp has been making hay out of the non-endorsement, suggesting that a bifurcated Republican Party cannot prevail in November, and noting other prominent Tea Party backers who have declined to endorse Maldonado.

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