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California Democrat Could Leave Congress After 1 Term

Negrete McLeod (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Negrete McLeod (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif., is keeping her options open to seek a San Bernadino County supervisor seat back home in the Golden State, according to multiple Democratic sources.

“She’s keeping an open mind, that’s all I know,” said Rep. Mark A. Takano, one of Negrete McLeod’s fellow freshman Democrats and allies in the California delegation. “She’s keeping all her options open.”

Negrete McLeod, 72, who defeated former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., in a bruising race last cycle for California’s 35th District, has more than $900,000 stashed in an account to run for the supervisor seat. The account was created in 2010, and a majority of the funds are reportedly left over from Negrete McLeod’s time as a state senator.

The San Bernadino County supervisor post will be open in 2014 because longtime Supervisor Gary Ovitt is not seeking re-election.

Negrete McLeod’s office declined to comment on Tuesday on whether McLeod will give up her spot in Congress to run for local office. But local California Democrats argued the supervisor seat holds more power and oversight than a junior member of Congress in the minority party.

Democrats also speculated that if Negrete McLeod doesn’t run for re-election in 2014, Baca could wage another run. But that might also be wishful thinking on the party’s part.

This cycle, Baca has announced he’s running in the 31st District. He’s one of several Democrats in a crowded primary, and as a result could hurt his party’s chance to oust one of the GOP’s most vulnerable incumbents, Rep. Gary G. Miller. Efforts to reach Baca’s campaign last week were extremely unsuccessful.

Whether Negrete McLeod runs for re-election or not, her 35th District is a Safe Democratic seat. President Barack Obama carried the district in 2012 with 67 percent.

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