Maldonado drops by Brand Boulevard

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado on Wednesday stopped at Porto's Bakery on North Brand Boulevard to shake hands with customers and pick up some of the Cuban eatery's most famous menu items — potato balls.

Maldonado, a former state senator appointed to the position in April, was making his way through the state on an election campaign bus tour that includes chatting with everyday Californians.

"It's our civic duty to go out and vote," said Maldonado, a Republican, as he made his way around the café. "Obviously, I want them to vote for me, but it's important that everyone is heard."

The lieutenant governor's staff said he specifically requested to make a stop at Porto's after his first visit to the Burbank location a few months ago.

Besides a love for Porto's pastries, Maldonado also bonded with owner Betty Porto over growing up with a family business.

The bus tour began in San Diego on Sunday and will continue to make stops throughout the state, ending with a rally in Salinas before a planned celebration party on election night in Orange County, his aides said.

After Porto's in Glendale, Maldonado was headed to Burbank for a surprise stop at a California Republican Party phone bank.

Maldonado was nominated for the position by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and confirmed in April after a partisan battle with Democrats in both the State Senate and Assembly.

He was behind his Democratic opponent, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, by 5 percentage points in the latest Los Angeles Times/USC poll released last week.

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