Baca apologizes for calling Negrete McLeod a 'bimbo'

Former Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) is apologizing for calling Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Calif.) “some bimbo” after the woman who defeated him last year announced her retirement. 

In an interview earlier Tuesday with The Hill, Baca slammed his longtime foe after she announced on Tuesday she was leaving Congress after just one term to run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. 

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Baca later called The Hill back and said his choice of words to describe the congresswoman was unacceptable. 

“I wanted to apologize for my poor choice of words. I was just upset the district lost a representative in a short period of time. To me, that's a disservice to the area. I do apologize for my poor choice of words," said Baca. 

Baca, who lost to Negrete McLeod in 2012 after redistricting, is now running in the 31st District, left open by Rep. Gary Miller’s (R-Calif.) retirement. But he hasn’t enjoyed much Democratic support in that contest, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List backing other candidates. 

His opponents seized on his earlier comments about Negrete McLeod after he said, "Look at what we wound up with: Some bimbo who decided not to run again.” EMILY’s List, which backs pro-choice female candidates, said it was another example of inappropriate comments toward women, pointing to 2007 incident in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus where he was accused of calling another member a “whore.” 

Baca also pushed back against that characterization, saying his comments weren’t part of a larger problem or pattern. 

“That's not true,” Baca told The HIll. “I've supported many individuals and I've supported a congressional person running in the 31st seat that's a woman. I supported Gloria when she ran for the assembly and worked for me, my old chief of staff was the first Hispanic woman chief of staff in history, so that's not true.”