News Column

Baca Family Dynasty Falls

Nov. 8, 2012

Andrew Edwards

Joe Baca
Joe Baca

When Congress and the state Legislature convene for their next session, they will do so without a Baca family member having been elected to either institution in two decades.

Inland Empire voters on Tuesday voted to oust Rep. Joe Baca from Congress, where he was first elected in 1999 after a career in the Legislature. Baca was first elected to the Assembly in 1992.

In another inland race, son Joe Baca Jr. lost in his bid to rejoin the Assembly. He came in second place to publishing executive Cheryl Brown.

In their places, voters elevated state Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod to the House of Representatives and elected publishing executive Cheryl Brown to the Assembly.

McLeod could not be immediately reached for comment.

The outcomes may reflect the influences of redistricting and Super PAC spending on this year's elections, especially as they relate to the competition between Baca and McLeod.

After redistricting changed the boundary lines of congressional districts, Baca moved from Rialto to Fontana to compete in the new 35th district.

The 35th includes territory to the west of Baca's old district and within McLeod's senatorial district.

The impact of millions in outside spending, however, may have had a greater effect than redistricting.

Independence USA, a Super PAC affiliated with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spent nearly $3.3 million to support McLeod and oppose Baca.

Bloomberg supports gun control and a flurry of Indpendnece USA mailings sent late in the campaign attacked Baca for his pro-gun stances.

Baca's campaign manager on Wednesday lamented the possibility that an East Coast player played a decisive role in the race.

"It's a shame the Inland Empire doesn't have Michael Bloomberg as a Congressman," Baca campaign manager David Negrete said.

In the race for the Rialto-centered 47th Assembly District, Brown defeated Baca Jr. in the race for an open seat.

Brown and Baca Jr. both ran as moderate Democrats. Brown also received considerable outside financial support from charter school supporters.

Baca Jr. served in the Assembly from 2004 to 2006. He lost a bid to move up to the state Senate in 2006 while his younger brother, Jeremy Baca, pursued the Assembly seat.

Both Baca brothers were unsuccessful six years ago. McLeod defeated Baca Jr. in the senate race and outgoing Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter defeated Jeremy Baca.

Joe Jr. still retains a seat on the Rialto City Council. His term there expires in 2014.

Source: (c)2012 the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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