AWOL Abel Maldonado a no show again
September 10, 2012
By KAREN VELIE
Congressional candidate Abel Maldonado’s biggest obstacle may not be his Democratic challenger, but instead members of the GOP who have dubbed him AWOL Abel. There have been at least 10 occasions when Maldonado has backed out on his promises to appear at debates and speaking engagements.
“One of the main responsibilities of a congressman is to be an advocate for his constituents, much like a lawyer,” said Christopher Arend, an attorney and member of the San Luis Obispo County Republican Party in a May email. “And just as with a lawyer, it is a cardinal sin not to be available for your ‘clients.’ Abel has repeatedly gone AWOL on the constituents in this district, and that alone renders him unacceptable.”
Most recently, Maldonado backed out on his agreement to speak at a North County Tea Party event planned for tonight at the Atascadero Lake Pavilion. He told members of the group, who planned to ask him to explain his votes on several key issues, he had a family emergency and would not be attending.
Lydia Thompson, a member of the North County Tea Party, sent out an email to its members announcing Maldonado’s cancellation and suggesting alternatives to voting for the Republican candidate.
“He missed eight appearances claiming all were family emergencies,” Thompson said. “Ask yourself, maybe he should step down to take care of his family.
“We do have a choice. We can vote for someone else. How about a write in? How about not voting for either? I believe the latter is the most effective,” Thompson added.
Back in May, his constituents first labeled him AWOL Abel after he backed out on an agreement to debate his primary opponent Chris Mitchum at a San Luis Obispo Republican Women’s Club meeting. He cancelled less than an hour beforehand because an officer of the club had supposedly been making disparaging calls about him. Members of the club contend Maldonado’s allegations were untrue.
The former Lt. Gov., Maldonado, is challenging Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, for her congressional seat.
Despite his high-profile, Maldonado has been at odds with some members of the GOP who question his voting record. As a result, he was unable to garner the state Republican Party endorsement prior to the June primary.
Thompson wonders if Maldonado’s frequent cancellations are an attempt to avoid answering the “tough questions.”
“It would be better to be questioned by conservatives than those who are anti-Maldonado,” Thompson said. “It he doesn’t want to talk to me, I don’t want to vote for him.”
Following his recent cancellation, Thompson said Maldonado told her he would find time to meet with her over dinner to discuss his stance on issues.
“The ball is in his court,” Thompson said.