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Clyburn did endorse Baca, but now rescinds it

After some confusion, Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn's (D-S.C.) office has acknowledged that he did endorse former congressman Joe Baca's (D-Calif.) 2014 campaign, but says that he has now rescinded that endorsement.

A couple days ago, we reported that Clyburn's office was disputing Baca's claim that Clyburn had endorsed him. Baca's campaign then forwarded Post Politics a copy of Clyburn's signature on an endorsement form, shown below:

When this was presented to Clyburn's office, spokesman Patrick Devlin confirmed that Clyburn did, in fact, endorse Baca, but on the understanding that he was the only Democrat in the race. That's not the case; Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar also is running and has the support of the national Democratic Party.

"Mr. Clyburn never intended to endorse Joe Baca over another Democrat," Devlin said. "During Mr. Baca’s April visit to D.C., Mr. Clyburn’s understanding was he was the lone Democrat in the race. That no longer being the case, we have asked the Baca campaign to remove his name from their Web site and expect that they will do so."

Baca told The Hill that he won't remove Clyburn's name from his Web site until Clyburn himself requests it.

"I didn’t go through a staffer to get a signature. I went to them personally," Baca said. "If Jim Clyburn personally says take my name off, I don’t mind."

While Clyburn and 30 other House Democrats had endorsed Baca, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has made it clear that it wants nothing to do with the former congressman and is instead taking the unusual step of endorsing Aguilar.

As noted on The Fix earlier this week, Baca is a gun rights supporter who has resisted new gun laws and has an 'A' rating from the NRA. Some Democrats are suggesting the party should line up behind a more standard-issue Democrat (who supports gun control) against Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), whose district is the Democrats' top target and went 57 percent for President Obama last year.

Since that analysis was posted, another Democrat listed as endorsing Baca, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), has also said she didn't actually endorse him.

Updated 11:47 a.m.: Sewell chief of staff Nichole Francis tells Post Politics that Sewell was also unaware that there were other Democrats in the race when she signed the endorsement sheet.

"That is her signature," Francis said. "She did endorse him under the guise of the fact that there were not going to be other Democrats in that race. No information was shared with her about any other candidates in the race.”

Sewell's office had said after withdrawing her Baca endorsement that Sewell would back Aguilar, but that's no longer the case either. Francis said Sewell will instead remain neutral. The race also includes a female candidate -- attorney Eloise Reyes -- who appears set to earn the backing of Emily's List, which supported Sewell in her first campaign in 2010.

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



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