"Washington needs people who are independent and bipartisan and who are fiscally responsible, and I think I've demonstrated that. I'm prepared to go back to Washington and to show some results for the people of California," he said in an interview.
The Santa Maria Republican has formed a federal campaign committee to challenge Democratic Rep. Lois Capps in the 23rd Congressional District, which currently stretches along the coastline, though he acknowledged that the district and the matchup could change as a citizens commission redraws the district's boundaries.
"I will be a candidate for Congress representing my home town of Santa Maria and the Central Coast," he said. "I don't know what the district will look like, but I know I will be a candidate."
Maldonado, who was appointed lieutenant governor by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, lost a bid for a full term to Democrat Gavin Newsom in November. Though he struggled during the last election cycle to raise enough cash to fuel a successful statewide bid, he said his long ties to the area -- including serving as a state assemblyman, senator, city council member and mayor -- will boost his next campaign.
"I know I will have plenty of resources to run in a congressional district," he said. "The people of the Central Coast know who I am and know what I've done."
Maldonado, who brokered the legislative deal that put Proposition 14 on the ballot and campaigned extensively for the new top-two primary system, said he plans to list his party preference as Republican on the ballot.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado gives his inaugural address Tuesday, May 4, 2010, on the east steps of the Capitol in Sacramento. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.