Congressman Joe Baca
Published: 17 June 2012 07:03 PM
Rep. Joe Baca and state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod are fellow San Bernardino County Democrats fighting it out in the 35th Congressional District.
But following Democrats’ nationally noted disaster last week in the neighboring 31st Congressional District, Negrete McLeod pointed the finger at Baca.
Baca lives in the 31st. Last fall, Baca decided to run in the 35th, where Democratic registration is much higher, setting up a bruising intra-Democratic fight against Negrete McLeod.
Negrete McLeod said Baca would have been a lock for a top-two finish in the 31st last week and could have carried the seat in the fall.
“Had Mr. Baca stayed (in the 31st), there wasn’t any heavyweight who was going to come in there,” Negrete McLeod said in an interview this week. “If he had stayed there, I think our chances of holding the seat are much greater.”
Baca did not take kindly to the remarks.
“She is a very divisive and bitter person,” Baca countered in a scathing statement Sunday night. “It is easier for her to play the blame game than demonstrate actions that could have resulted in a different outcome.”
Baca noted that Negrete McLeod, “voted in favor of the budget relating to redistricting which created this new voting process for the primaries.”
And Baca argued that he was an active supporter of Aguilar’s campaign.
“I mentored him, gave him advice, and donated to his campaign,” Baca said. “What did she do to help elect Pete Aguilar to that seat?”
Former San Manuel tribal Chairman James Ramos and Apple Valley Councilman Rick Roelle picked up endorsements from an influential union last week as they prepare for the November runoff election in their respective races for San Bernardino County supervisor.
Ramos is challenging incumbent Supervisor Neil Derry in the 3rd District while Roelle, a sheriff’s lieutenant, is facing Apple Valley businessman Robert Lovingood in the 1st District.
Both candidates, who already were supported in the June election by the largest union representing county employees, the San Bernardino Public Employees Association, now also have the backing of the second-largest union, the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association, which represents public safety employees including sheriff’s deputies.
SEBA’s endorsement represents a change for the union, which supported Derry in 2008 and devoted a significant amount of resources — $371,166 — to help him oust former Supervisor Dennis Hansberger.
Union President Laren Leichliter said Derry’s guilty plea last year to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report a campaign contribution played a part in the group’s decision. He said the public safety union felt it could not support someone who pleaded guilty to a criminal charge.
In the 1st District, Leichliter said the group liked both candidates, but Roelle’s 30-year background with the Sheriff’s Department and emphasis on public safety issues gave him the edge.
The union expects to provide financial support to both candidates, Leichliter said.
California is among the nation’s best states when it comes to requiring disclosure of independent spending in political campaigns, according to a new report.
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