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Super PAC Touts Joe Baca as ‘Reagan Fiscal Conservative’
Posted at 4:44 p.m. on May 13
A super PAC in California backing former Rep. Joe Baca sent three mailers in the district touting Baca’s credentials for his comeback bid for a Southern California open seat.
The mailers, obtained by CQ Roll Call, tout Baca endorsements — including some who are backing multiple candidates in the race — and one even paints the Democrat as a “Reagan Fiscal Conservative.” That mail piece features a letter written and signed by Baca, alongside an image of President Ronald Reagan.
Baca is one of four Democrats running in the June 3, top-two primary, which also includes three Republicans. Democrats are heavily targeting the seat, which is open with the retirement of GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller.
The super PAC behind the mailers, Cal Voters for Honest Government, did not file a required independent-expenditure report to the Federal Election Commission disclosing how much was spent.
When reached by phone, Johnny Diaz Jr., the treasurer of the super PAC, said he did not know how much was spent on the mail campaign. But he said the group is run by a local businessman named Richard Mayer. It’s unclear what ties Mayer has to Baca.
Multiple sources said there are also billboards up around the district supporting Baca, but there was no visible indicator on the signs for who paid for them.
Baca, who was ousted from Congress in the nearby 35th District in 2012, has raised little for his comeback bid, reporting just $29,000 in cash on hand as of March 31.
His war chest is significantly lower than the two other top-tier Democrats in the race: Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar and attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes. Aguilar, who is backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, reported $683,000 in the bank as of March 31, while Reyes, who is backed by EMILYs List, had $535,000.
Baca is a well-known entity in the district, thanks to his previous six terms in the House. That could give him a chance in the June 3 primary, where the two highest vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general.
Baca’s poor fundraising and blunders on the trail could also make him a problem for the DCCC should he advance to the general with one of the three Republicans running: businessman Paul Chabot, former Miller aide Lesli Gooch and political consultant Ryan Downing.
Last cycle, Democrats splintered the primary vote, allowing two Republicans — including Miller — to advance to the general, sewing up the win in a district President Barack Obama carried with 57 percent.
The race is rated Leans Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.