Where’s Maldo? Campaigning on Newsom’s turf 

It was Gavin Newsom’s workplace and a gathering of Democrats, but the latest campaign event was for Republican Abel Maldonado.

The candidate for lieutenant governor created a little tension in the race Wednesday morning when he decided to use San Francisco City Hall as the backdrop for his latest event.

On the steps of City Hall, Maldonado set up a small podium and a microphone and was flanked by California Democrats and independents, including former San Francisco Supervisor Tony Hall and former Assemblyman Joe Nation.

But while Maldonado and his supporters talked to reporters, Mayor Gavin Newsom stood outside on a  balcony, directly above his opponent. From there, he unfurled a Giants flag, in a small, nonpolitical celebration of his own.

Maldonado said his event at City Hall was not a political stunt, but rather an opportunity for him to reach out to the Democrats and independents who support his campaign. Recent polls show Newsom’s popularity is shrinking, as he trails his opponent by 4 percentage points.

“This is where my friends are from the Bay Area,” Maldonado said. “This is the people’s house. This is not my opponent’s house, and everyone has the right to come here and tell Californians what they are going to do in the future.”

Newsom, who has raised more than $2 million in this race — double what his opponent has collected — called Maldonado’s news conference a “trivial” moment in the campaign.

“What’s more important is Maldonado’s conservative record; he is against gay rights, anti-pro choice and too lax on the environment,” Newsom said.

“I didn’t know Joe [Nation] wanted to support a guy who is anti AB 32 and anti-choice and anti-gay rights,” Newsom said. “That’s pretty extraordinary because he was pretty aggressive on these issues.”

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

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