Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/07/2012 10:16:46 AM PDT
Updated: 10/07/2012 05:09:28 PM PDT

California’s revamped elections system and a dash of political rivalry appear to be factors in an interesting quirk in the race for an inland Assembly seat – one of the region’s most prominent Republicans has endorsed and donated to a Democratic office seeker.

The Republican is Jim Brulte, formerly the minority leader of the state Senate and now the head of a California political consultancy.

The Democrat is Cheryl Brown, president of Brown Publishing Co. Her opponent in the race to represent the newly-drawn 47th Assembly District is Joe Baca Jr., a Rialto councilman and former member of the Assembly.

The 47th includes Rialto, Bloomington, Colton, Grand Terrace and parts of Fontana and San Bernardino.

The two Democrats can run against each other in the General Election because the state’s voters accepted former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s idea to allow the top two finishers in a primary election run in November, regardless of party affiliation.

Supporters of that idea said it would make races more competitive and give politicians a reason to reach out to members of opposing parties, but political moderation is not the only reason money can move across party lines.

“I’m familiar with both of the candidates. One of the candidate’s family spends most of its time trying to build a political empire and Cheryl Brown spends her time trying to help the community. So, easy call,” Brulte said.

Brulte gave $3,900 to Brown’s campaign, which is the maximum allowed under state law.

Baca Jr. left the Assembly in 2006 when he made a run for the state Senate. His brother, Jeremy Baca, ran to take his place in the lower house.

Had the plan succeeded, three members of the Baca family would have ended up representing the Rialto-San Bernardino area, since brother’s father Joe Baca, serves in the House of Representatives.

As it happened, voters instead chose to place Gloria Negrete-McLeod in the state Senate and Wilmer Amina Carter in the Assembly.

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