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Clyburn disputes endorsement of pro-gun ex-Rep. Joe Baca

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 04: U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) walks toward a House Democrat caucus meeting on January 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. The new 112th Congress is due to be sworn in on January 5, with the House being lead by House Speaker elect John Boehner (R-OH). U.S. President Barack Obama's Healthcare reforms are expected to be a target for the Republicans, who now dominate the new House of Representatives and with Democrats maintaining a small majority in the Senate. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** James Clyburn Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.)  (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Assistant House Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who was listed last week by former congressman Joe Baca's (D-Calif.) campaign as having endorsed Baca, is disputing that endorsement.

Clyburn spokesman Patrick Devlin told Post Politics that Baca's claim that Clyburn endorsed him is not true.

"Previous press reports that Assistant Leader Clyburn had made an endorsement in (the race) were incorrect," Devlin said. "He is staying out of the nomination primary."

Those reports were based on a release from Baca's campaign, which included Clyburn among 30 other House Democrats who have endorsed Baca. Clyburn's name is still listed on the Baca campaign's list of endorsements.

Those endorsements are at odds with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is backing another Democrat in the race, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar.

As I noted on The Fix earlier today, the race has become a key indicator of the Democratic party's posture on guns. Pro-gun control groups have targeted Baca to a significant extent, with a super PAC founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) spending $3 million to defeat the NRA ally in 2012.

The 30 House Democrats who are endorsing Baca are doing so even as a gun control supporter like Aguilar has a very good chance of winning in a district that President Obama carried with 57 percent last year.

Baca and Aguilar are challenging Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.). Baca fell to now-Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Calif.) last year.

A Baca aide has not responded to a request for comment.

Update 9:59 p.m.: Another Democrat Baca listed as endorsing him, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), says she is in fact backing Aguilar, according to Roll Call.

Roll Call also reports that Baca insisted in a phone conversation that he has signatures from everyone he claimed endorsed him.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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