Former Rep. Joe Baca, a Democrat attempting a comeback bid in California’s 31 st District, boasted support from 30 House Democrats on Thursday. The list runs the gamut from members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to Assistant Minority Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina.
Baca publicized these endorsements the morning after he hosted a Washington, D.C., fundraiser with Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz. It was one day after his 31 st District opponent, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-backed candidate Pete Aguilar, announced the support of a dozen Democrats in the California delegation.
Baca said he already had the support of 26 Democrats in Congress, but noted that he picked up four more at the Wednesday night fundraiser: Reps. Michael E.Capuano of Massachusetts, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, William Lacy Clay of Missouri and Tim Ryan of Ohio.
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In an interview with CQ Roll Call, Baca said he’s proud of the congressional support he’s received thus far. But he said that he’s even more proud of the endorsements he’s garnered from local politicians in the district, including San Bernardino County School Board officials, local councilmembers and community leaders.
“Brad Sherman had the endorsements of the local elected officials, and look who won,” Baca said, referring to last cycle’s heated member-vs.-member race between Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, in which Sherman came out victorious.
The 31st District remains a top target for Democrats this cycle. Last cycle, Rep. Gary G. Miller, R-Calif., won the recently redrawn district that voted for President Barack Obama with 57 percent.
Under the state’s new primary system, the top-two vote recipients advance to the general regardless of party identification. Last year, no Democrats advanced to November, after four Democrats, including Aguilar, split the party's primary vote.
Baca lost in 2012 to now-Democratic Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod in California’s 35th District. This cycle, he chose to run in the 31 st District, as he represented a large chunk of the territory prior to the last round of redistricting.
“I represented that district, I have the name ID, I’m experienced and have a proven track record, and I’m a veteran and that’s what will stand out,” Baca said.