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Where in the World Is Joe Baca’s Campaign?

Baca has said he will attempt to come back to Congress in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Baca has said he will attempt to come back to Congress in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Last week, an article in the San Bernardino County Sun speculated that Democratic Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod may run for county supervisor instead of seeking another congressional term, or may not run for re-election at all. If true, this could help House Democrats clear up one of their bigger headaches of the 2014 cycle.

According to the Sun, “sources say [McLeod] isn’t interested in another term in Congress.” That prompted me to consider whether former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., might switch races from the 31st District, where he is running now, to the 35th District, where he ran and lost to McLeod in 2012.

But now I’m wondering whether Baca is running at all. Let me explain.

I reached out to Linda Macias, who has been a contact for the Baca campaign. But she told me in an email that she had retired and provided the number for Baca’s finance office in California. A dozen calls to that number rang busy over the course of a few days.

That’s the same number listed as the local office number on the former congressman’s campaign website. But there is also a number listed for a “Washington Office.” That number is not in service.

Baca’s website says, “I’m running for re-election in the 31st Congressional District in order to bring back effective representation.” Keep in mind that Baca is not currently serving in Congress, having lost a race in the 35th District last cycle. And while he represented 44 percent of the territory of the redrawn 31st District previously, the district numbers were the 42nd and 43rd over the past couple of decades.

Back to the search: I went to the statement of organization for the campaign where Baca is listed as the campaign treasurer. The phone number listed is for the Sacramento-based Olson Hagel & Fishburn. Baca has paid the firm for “legal reporting services” in the past, but the kind receptionist made it clear that it wasn’t his campaign office and couldn’t provide an alternative number.

Contacting the Baca campaign through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is useless. The former congressman doesn’t exactly check in with the committee since it has taken the side of the former congressman’s primary opponents, Pete Aguilar.

The strategists at the DCCC wouldn’t mind Baca switching races, making it easier for their preferred candidate to finish in the top two in the primary against GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller. The 31st District is rated Lean Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

But for now, I guess we wait. Baca had just $37,000 in cash on hand at the end of September, with $38,000 in debt. End of the year campaign finance reports are due at the end of January.

The filing deadline to run in California is March 7.

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