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Bay Area fans of Jim Webb stand by their man

Jim Webb has dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary race, but some of his Bay Area supporters say they would consider sticking with him if he chooses to run as an independent.

Jim Webb pulls the plug 10-20-2015 (AP photo)The former U.S. Senator from Virginia pulled the plug, at least for now, at a Tuesday news conference in which said the two major parties have moved so far to the extremes that there’s no path forward for a centrist like him.

Webb clearly had been struggling. He had the support of only about 1.3 percent of Democratic voters, according to an average of recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics – ahead of Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee, but nowhere close to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, the latter of whom still hasn’t even decided whether to run. Most people who watched last week’s Democratic debate remembered Webb mainly for complaining he wasn’t given enough time to speak, if they remembered him at all. And the Federal Election Commission report that Webb’s campaign filed last week shows it raised a total of $696,972 and spent $370,942, and had $316,765 cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Michael Dearing of Woodside, an angel investor and business development instructor, gave $5,600 to Webb’s campaign in August, and was disappointed by Tuesday’s news.

“He’s a patriot and he had ideas that could’ve appealed to both parties. Unfortunately, I think he found neither party was open to those ideas,” said Dearing, 47, an independent voter who has contributed to other Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and President Barack Obama as well as Republicans including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kent., and former Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Campbell.

Webb “had the courage to speak up to Secretary Clinton when no one else in that party would,” Dearing said, adding he would be interested in an independent Webb candidacy. “I would be interested in hearing from anybody who is a great patriot, a great leader and has sound ideas on all the problems that face the country. Sadly, we have a shortage of such people in the race.”

George Butcher, a business regulatory and quality consultant from Livermore, contributed $1,100 to Webb’s campaign this year and said he “would support Jim Webb under any circumstance” including an independent candidacy, though he’s “sorry to see him drop out of the Democratic race – I thought he had a good chance.”

Butcher, 67, a Democrat, said Webb’s appeal is “his overall stance, the way that he tries to rise above the two parties and to put the best interests of the country first. … He’s partisan to the needs of the country.”

Rosanna Falabella, a retired polymer materials scientist from Hayward, contributed about $1,000 to Webb’s campaign. She said she’s in the “anybody but Hillary” wing of the Democratic party, objecting to what she sees as a coronation of Clinton and marginalization of other candidates.

“I was looking for somebody who seemed to have their head screwed on straight,” said Falabella, 62, and Webb fit the bill. “I like the fact that he’s a veteran and very much skeptical about what our foreign policy is doing, both to our country and to other countries that we’re declaring war on. … He’s someone who might keep us out of these foreign adventures.”

Asked if she would consider backing Webb as an independent candidate, she replied, “Absolutely.”

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Abel Maldonado drops out of race for governor

Former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado has dropped out of this year’s gubernatorial race.

At a news conference in his hometown of Santa Maria, the Republican said that “after having traveled all over the state and giving it my all, I have concluded that now is not my time.”

“It’s time to step away for a while, and spend more time with my family and stay a little closer to home helping my community, as an active private citizen,” he said. “This by no means suggests that I am giving up, or giving in. I love my country and I love my state. But it’s just time for me, to take a break and focus more of my time on being a fulltime dad and husband.”

Maldonado has been something of a pariah within parts of the GOP, both for striking a budget deal with Democrats while serving in the state Senate and for fathering a successful ballot measure that made the top-two primary system a reality.

Perhaps as a result, Maldonado never had much success in finding financial support for his campaign. He had raised just over $314,000 and had about $44,600 as of June 30, but he also had more than $47,900 in outstanding debts, effectively leaving him in the red; he has raised only about $148,800 since then. Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown had more than $10 million banked by the middle of last year and has raised at least $6.9 million more since.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, remains in the race, and former Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari – also a Republican – is expected to enter the race soon.

UPDATE @ 11:50 A.M.: California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton issued a statement saying Maldonado “saw the writing on the wall and did the smart thing. Governor Brown, and Democratic leaders in the Legislature, delivered on their promises by stopping the cuts to education, balancing the budget and pulling California out of the economic doldrums. Californians are once more discussing investing in our future instead of cutting our way to the bottom.

“It’s no surprise that Republicans are taking a look at the landscape and deciding they don’t have much to run on,” Burton said.

UPDATE @ 2:33 P.M.: Read the more complete story here.

Read Maldonado’s complete comments as prepared, after the jump…
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Lee says ‘radical right’ forced Rice to withdraw

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, issued this statement after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw from consideration for U.S. Secretary of State was announced today:

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)“I am profoundly disappointed that Ambassador Rice, such a well qualified woman of color, would be denied the opportunity to become our next Secretary of State due to the baseless and manufactured allegations of the radical right.

“I have known and worked closely with Ambassador Susan Rice for many years—on many global issues. From the genocide in Sudan to the ongoing violence in Syria, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and the global HIV/AIDS crisis. Ambassador Rice works each and every day to advance the highest ideals of our country and would have been an outstanding Secretary of State.”