Former Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), who is seeking to return to Congress this year, referred to Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Calif.) as "some bimbo" on Tuesday in an interview with The Hill.
McLeod, who beat Baca in 2012 with the backing of then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, announced this week that she would be retiring after only one term. Baca told The Hill that he is running in a different district this year, but that Bloomberg and the DCCC made a mistake in campaigning against him.
"Look at what we wound up with: Some bimbo who decided not to run again," he said.
McLeod's office did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
“I wanted to apologize for my poor choice of words," he told The Hill. "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."
Baca has a history of making offensive comments about female members of Congress. In 2007, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) quit the Congressional Hispanic Caucus after Baca, then the caucus' chairman, allegedly called her a "whore."
"I'm not going to be a part of the CHC as long as Mr. Baca illegally holds the chair… I told them no," she told Politico at the time. "There's a big rift here. You treat the women like shit. I have no use for him."
Baca is currently running in a Democratic primary against Eloise Gomez Reyes and Pete Aguilar in California's 31st district. Reyes, an attorney, has raised $302,000 so far, and Aguilar, the mayor of Redlands, Calif., has raised $147,000. Baca, meanwhile, has raised only $20,000.
"Congressman Baca's continued disrespect for women is outrageous," said Aguilar, who is backed by the DCCC. "We might expect this type of behavior from House Republicans, but not from a Democrat seeking to represent Inland Empire families. Joe Baca should be ashamed of himself."
"Joe Baca clearly feels outmatched in his own race against Eloise Gomez Reyes, so he has resorted to name-calling in a desperate attempt at getting some attention," said Marcy Stech, a spokeswoman for the group EMILY's List, which is supporting Reyes. "The women and families of California’s 31st district deserve a representative who respects them and wants to fight for them, not one who wastes time hurling insults and picking fights in races he’s not even running in."
This article was updated after publication with an apology from Joe Baca and a statement from Pete Aguilar, who is competing against him in a primary.