By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado dropped by Santa Rosa Friday on his statewide bus tour to drum up votes for Tuesday’s election.
The Republican incumbent, who took office in April as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger-appointee, lunched with restaurateur Guy Fieri at Johnny Garlic’s — he had chipotle pasta — then schmoozed with voters at a Farmers Lane Starbucks.
“He was very personable and friendly,” said Brooke Clyde, a retired Santa Rosa lawyer who was drinking a non-fat latte when Maldonado walked in.
Clyde, 52, told Maldonado that he’d already voted for him on his mail-in ballot. And he thanked him for getting an ultimately successful proposition to redistrict legislative districts on to the ballot last year.
In 2009, Maldonado, while a state senator from Santa Maria, refused to vote to approve the state’s overdue budget until Democrats agreed to put the redistricting measure, Propostion 14, on the ballot.
Maldonado, who has been trailing his Democratic opponent San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in polls, said that for the most part, he’s been hearing from voters that the economy is their main worry.
“It’s jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said as he departed Santa Rosa for Novato.
He brushed off talk that he was plunging into a territory of reliably Democratic voter precincts — although Schwarzenegger won Sonoma County by 3,216 votes in 2006 — that is less than 100 miles from Newson’s home turf.
“I don’t see Santa Rosa as a liberal bastion, I see it as California,” he said, adding, “It’s not Gavin Newsom’s backyard. It’s California’s backyard.”