California: Baca Will Challenge Miller in 31st District

Baca will try to come back to Congress, challenging a Republican instead of a fellow Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

So much for that blood feud congressional race in California's Inland Empire.

Former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., has announced he will run in a different district next year, challenging one of his party's top targets — Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller. 

Baca will challenge Miller instead of going for a rematch with his longtime political nemesis, Democratic Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, in the 35th District. He had previously indicated he would challenge her after losing to her last year.

(Read about rematches in Roll Call: Top 5 House Rematches To Watch — So Far)

"I'm running for re-election in the 31st Congressional District in order to bring back effective representation," Baca wrote recently on a splash page on his updated campaign website.

Baca's Rialto home is just inside the 31st District border, and he'll now be taking on perhaps the most vulnerable Republican in the House. Baca did not immediately  return a phone message seeking comment.

His announcement is welcome news for Negrete McLeod, but not so much for Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat who announced a challenge to Miller two weeks ago.

Last year, Aguilar was the first major casualty of the state's new top-two primary system. With four Democrats splintering the primary vote, Aguilar was left out of the 31st District general election while two Republicans advanced; Miller ultimately held the Democratic-leaning district.