Groups bankrolled by insurance companies, teachers and other interests have spent almost $1.3 million to try to influence the outcome of some Inland legislative races on Tuesday's ballot, and the amount continues to grow.

In the Democratic primary for the 32nd Senate District, spending by independent committees has shattered predictions, flooding mailboxes and the airwaves from Pomona to San Bernardino with political ads.

By midday Friday, committees either supporting Assemblywoman Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, or opposing her opponent, Assemblyman Joe Baca Jr., D-Rialto, had passed the $1 million mark.

"I guess I'm surprised, yet the support I've received is indicative of the support I have in Sacramento," Negrete McLeod said. "The groups that support me come from all avenues."

But the rules allow so-called independent expenditure committees to spend whatever they want in a race, as long as there is no coordination with a candidate's campaign.

The single-biggest independent spender so far has been Teachers United with Firefighters and Correctional Officers, a group bankrolled by the labor unions representing teachers and prison guards.

In San Bernardino County's 62nd Assembly District, where Joe Baca Jr.'s younger brother, Jeremy, is running against Wilmer Amina Carter, committees on both sides are spending in support of each of the candidates.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association has spent $24,004 in support of Jeremy Baca. That is the same group working with the teachers union to help Negrete McLeod, even though Joe Baca Jr. is a former correctional officer.

In the 65th Assembly District, which curves from Hemet to Twentynine Palms, four of the five GOP candidates have been supported or opposed by three independent-expenditure committees.

West Valley Young Republicans has spent money against three of the candidates and $48,820 in support of Banning Councilwoman Brenda Salas. It has spent $55,460 against San Jacinto City Councilman Jim Ayres, $35,103 against Yucca Valley Mayor Paul Cook and the same amount against Hemet Mayor Robin Lowe.

Another group, the Inland Empire Young Republicans Political Action Committee, has spent $56,717 in support of Cook. The committee received money from the campaign committee of San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger and the assessor campaign committee of San Bernardino County Supervisor Bill Postmus, among other contributors.

The Committee Against Corruption, which has received much of its money from Mark Leggio of Mark Christopher Chevrolet, spent $70,747 against Ayres in the past two weeks.

Leggio previously served as an honorary campaign-finance chairman for Salas' committee, but Salas' campaign consultant said Friday there has been no collaboration between the two committees and Leggio is not involved with her campaign now.

In its report to the secretary of state's office this week, the Committee Against Corruption also said Wednesday it spent $15,875,317 against Cook.

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