Joe Baca

Then-state Sen. Joe Baca, center, and his wife react after being told Baca took an early lead over Elia Pirozzi for a House seat on Nov. 16, 1999, in San Bernardino. Baca says he is retiring from politics after losing the Fontana mayoral race. (AP Photo)

By Leslie Parrilla, San Bernardino Sun
Posted: 11/09/14, 7:21 PM PST | Updated: 28 secs ago

After 34 years of public service, three consecutive failed elections, including one in Fontana that raised hopes for a comeback, veteran politician Joe Baca said he’s calling it quits for now.

“You can never predict what’s going to happen in the future. Right now, I am just going to enjoy life. You never can tell with your future, and you never can say never to anything,” said Baca, 67, when asked about potential political retirement after losing his bid last week to be Fontana’s mayor.

Baca, a Democrat, lost by a landslide in the nonpartisan race against Mayor Acquanetta Warren, who got more than 10,000 votes, compared to Baca’s 3,159, something he blames on these factors — money, running against an incumbent and poor Democratic voter turnout.

“It took money and I just didn’t have the money to run the type of effective campaign that I wanted to run,” said Baca, who raised about $50,000 for his election, an amount similar to his last lost campaign.

With five volunteers sending out mailers and pounding some pavement, it wasn’t enough, he said.

“Volunteers don’t work nowadays, unless you pay them. You hire people to walk the day of elections. … I know what it takes to run a campaign and be effective, and it takes money,” he said.

Unless a confluence of conditions are ripe in the future, he plans to hang up his political hat, play golf and spend time with his nine grandchildren.

“Only if those circumstances are there will I ever consider running. Otherwise, I won’t. I don’t want to run like I did these last two times,” Baca said. “Most incumbents end up winning, even if you’ve got the finances, unless they’re totally unhappy with that incumbent.”

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