Capitol Alert

Gorell, Baca switch political teams

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, with his wife Laura, acknowledges the standing ovation form California Assembly members at the California State Capitol on Monday, April 9, 2012, as he returned after a year of service as a Lt. Commander in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy.
Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, with his wife Laura, acknowledges the standing ovation form California Assembly members at the California State Capitol on Monday, April 9, 2012, as he returned after a year of service as a Lt. Commander in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Two former state legislators from Southern California switched political teams, so to speak, last week.

Former Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, a Ventura County Republican who made a strong bid for Congress last year, challenging Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley, was chosen by Eric Garcetti, the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, to be a deputy mayor handling homeland security and public safety issues.

Joe Baca, who was a a Democratic assemblyman, senator and congressman for several decades, representing San Bernardino County, announced that he was switching parties and becoming a Republican.

Gorell brings his experience as a Ventura County prosecutor and a military intelligence officer to his new position, which pays $182,768 a year. By accepting Garcetti’s appointment, he passes up an opportunity to run for the Ventura County Board of Supervisors next year.

Baca was a “blue dog” Democrat in Congress, often at odds with liberals. He said his switch of parties “follows my core Christian values and how I voted the majority of the time.”

It also follows two losses to Democratic rivals in congressional races in 2012 and 2014.

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