Rep. Joe Baca is aggressively spending money on his campaign for the newly redrawn 35th Congressional District, despite what observers say is a high likelihood he’ll move forward past the June 5 primary and into the general election.
The San Bernardino-based congressman is far ahead in fundraising and spending compared to his main opponent, Gloria Negrete McLeod, who represents much of the district’s area in the state Senate.
Baca has raised about $123,000 from Jan. 1 through March 31 and $527,000 since the beginning of the election cycle, according to quarterly finance information from the Federal Election Commission. He’s spent about $128,000 in the past quarter, but still has about $248,000.
“You’ve got to show a clear picture between yourself and you can’t wait until the general election and allow momentum to shift from one candidate to the other,” Baca said.
“That’s why I’m running aggressively right now. We shouldn’t be on the same playing field. I am the congressman and I am the incumbent. I’m doing everything aggressively to make sure people know there is a difference between an incumbent who brings back the bacon.”
McLeod’s campaign, in the past quarter, has raised about $17,000 and has spent about $28,000. She has about $110,000 left in her treasury as of March 31.
Efforts to reach McLeod for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
McLeod contributed $50,000 to her own campaign last September, with about $20,000 coming from PAC contributions and $80,000 coming from individual contributions since the beginning of the election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In addition to a number of individual contributions, Baca’s committee has received funds from the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the National Rifle Association, Upland-based Lewis Investment Company, and corporate political action committees including JP Morgan Chase, Exxon Mobil, Comcast, Coca Cola, and Univision.
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“I feel good about the people supporting me,” Baca said. “I want to thank the supporters who have gotten behind me. This is only the beginning. I think we’re going to see a lot more people coming through, from labor to the private sector as well.”
Observers expect Baca and McLeod’s money and name recognition to take them past the primary. New rules allow the top two vote earners in the primary to be on the November ballot.
Green Party candidate Anthony Vieyra, a financial analyst from Pomona, said he has yet to begin raising money for his bid, but has expressed faith in web-based media and meeting people door to door.
“My plans are to finish up my website this week,” Vieyra said. “It’s going to have a contribute button … I’m also printing up envelopes and possibly do some fundraisers. I may go ahead and have friends help me with YouTube videos which might reach a broader section of people than TV ads.”