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Second Democrat Disputes Baca Endorsement Claim #CA31

A second House Democrat has disputed former Rep. Joe Baca’s claim that she endorsed him in a heated primary for California’s 31st District.

Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., said through a spokeswoman that she did not endorse Baca’s candidacy and that she is instead supporting his primary challenger, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar. Aguilar has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“She is supporting the DCCC’s efforts to elect Pete Aguilar,” said Sewell’s chief of staff, Nichole Francis, in an email.

Sewell is the only female on Baca’s list of 30 endorsements from House Democrats that he released last week as part of his bid to come back to Congress.

She joins Assistant House Minority Leader James E. Clyburn in disputing Baca’s endorsement claim. Clyburn also said through a spokesman on Tuesday that he did not endorse Baca and “is staying out of the nomination primary.”

In an interview with CQ Roll Call earlier on Tuesday, Baca insisted he has the signatures of the members of Congress named on the endorsement list he released last week.

Francis said she has no knowledge of Sewell signing her name to a Baca endorsement.

The 31st District is one of the party’s top pickup prospects in 2014. Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller won it in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried it with 57 percent.

Last cycle, Baca lost re-election to Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif., in the nearby 35th District. This cycle, at least three Democrats are running for the 31st District, including Baca and Aguilar.