Calif. Rep. McLeod to leave Congress

Freshman Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Calif.) will leave Congress to run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, she announced Tuesday afternoon.

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"I have chosen to seek election to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and not reelection to Congress," she said in a statement. "This was a decision not made lightly. However, my desire to represent this community locally, where I have lived for more than 40 years, and where I have long served as an elected official, won out. My federal, state, and local experience will allow me the opportunity to effectively represent the constituents of the Fourth District."

Negrete McLeod, a former California state senator and longtime Democratic power player in her part of suburban Los Angeles, defeated former Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) in a nasty 2012 battle. Her win was propelled by the nearly $3 million former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent spamming Baca on environmental and gun issues.

She quickly grew frustrated with Congress's lack of action on major issues and the 3,000 mile one-way commute from her district to Washington, D.C. once elected to Congress, sources say, and there had been rumors for months that Negrete McLeod would leave Congress to run for local or state government back in California.

A position on San Bernardino County's Board of Supervisors is a powerful one in the state — she actually would represent more people if she wins a spot on the board than she does as a congresswoman, and won't have to commute to D.C.

Negrete McLeod's district is heavily Hispanic and solidly Democratic — President Obama won 67 percent of the vote there in 2012.

Baca is running to return to Congress this year in a neighboring district, and ruled out a switch to her seat now that it's open.

"No, I'm running for the 31st Congressional seat," Baca told The Hill when reached by phone shortly after Negrete McLeod's announcement that she'll leave Congress after one term. "That has no bearing on me making any kind of decision, I've already made my decision to run in the 31st which is my old district and a vacancy. There's no incumbent in that seat, I'm a veteran with a proven track record and experience and seniority matters."

This post was updated at 1:55 p.m.