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Cheryl Brown won the Inland Empire Assembly seat in district 47 today with 56 percent of the vote and 100 percent of precincts reporting. Her opponent Joe Baca Jr. gathered 43 percent of the vote. The election was called at 2 am with 54 percent of precincts reporting.
Cheryl Brown and Joe Baca Jr. are both Democrats who ran in the same district during the general election due to the new open primary system established in 2012. In the open primary system the top two vote getters in the primary move on to the general election regardless of party affiliation.
Both Democrats fought for the vote of Republicans and Independents across the district. In principle the more moderate candidate would win and be sent to Sacramento. This member of the Assembly would be another step closer to a less-partisan legislature in the state of California.
Cheryl Brown and her husband publish a local newspaper called the Black Voice News. The publication has gathered national honors. Ms. Brown is recognized as a historic African-American publisher. Other historic African-American publishers include Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Carlotta Bass.
Joe Baca Jr. is a former one-term Assemblyman from the Inland Empire. He left the Assembly to run for a seat in the State Senate, but was defeated. He sits on the Rialto City Council. He father, Joe Baca, is a sitting Congressman who has represented the area since 1999.
Democrats represent the largest single group of voters in the district (49%), but Republicans (26.8%), Independents (20%), and Others (4.2%) combined outweigh Democratic registration by several thousands of votes. These voting blocs will be determinative of the outcome of the 2012 election in the 47th Assembly District.