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Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado emerging as front-runner for Trump’s agriculture secretary

(CNN) Abel Maldonado

Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado is the front-runner to head the U.S. Departure of Agriculture, a source familiar with the transition process told CNN Tuesday.

The owner of a vineyard in California, Maldonado has a farming background. He grew up picking crops with his parents who were agricultural workers themselves.

Maldonado is Mexican-American. His father is from Mexico while his mother was born in New Mexico. The source stressed putting a farmer in the agriculture secretary spot is key as many of Trump’s supporters hail from rural America. Farmers want a farmer in that spot, the source added.

The source also confirmed that Luis Quiñonez withdrew his name from consideration over the weekend for secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, citing health concerns.