Republican Abel Maldonado confirmed Thursday he is dropping out of the race for governor, abandoning a campaign that struggled from the start.
After having "traveled all over the state and giving it my all," the former lieutenant governor is expected to say at a news conference in Santa Maria this morning, "I have concluded ....that now, is not my time."
Though no Republican is likely to unseat Gov. Jerry Brown in this heavily Democratic state, Maldonado was once thought the likeliest Republican to advance to the runoff against him in November. Many Republicans believed fielding Maldonado, a moderate Latino, could improve the diminished party's standing with Latino voters.
But Maldonado's support for temporary tax increases while in the Legislature alienated many conservatives, and his efforts to raise money fell flat.
Maldonado's campaign announced late Wednesday that he would make a "major announcement" at the news conference, but his advisers declined to comment ahead of the event. The Bee this morning reported he was quitting the race.
In exiting, Maldonado will record his third straight campaign failure. He lost his campaign for a seat in Congress in 2012 and, two years before that, his bid to keep his appointed post as lieutenant governor.
Maldonado's exit leaves Twin Peaks Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a more conservative candidate, as the only Republican actively campaigning against Brown.
Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, is expected to declare his candidacy soon.
PHOTO: Republican Abel Maldonado walks to a news conference in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua