Friday, May 15, 2015

Loretta Sanchez Runs for US Senate

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana, CA)

Attorney General Kamala Harris is not so inevitable, and a Southern California Congresswoman believes that enough that she just launched her own bid for the US Senate yesterday.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana declared in front of the city's train station her intentions to replace Barbara Boxer.

I'm running for the Senate because I am passionate about California. I think that we need an experienced legislator to go to the Senate for California.

Within hours of Sanchez' announcement, Harris took a jab at Congress and her new challenger, citing the gridlock and dysfunction of Washington politics.

One has to ask: if Washington DC is dysfunction, and Harris calls it a bad thing, why does she want to run for US Senate?

The Los Angeles Times ran an interesting story on Sanchez' record then and now, including her former Republican party affiliation:

On occasion, the Orange County Democrat has made fellow party members wince.

In 2000, Sanchez embarrassed party leaders and presidential nominee Al Gore by scheduling a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion during the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

It would be a matter of time, in fact minutes, before someone would report about this ill-planned fundraiser. She changed the venue, by the way.

Sanchez has also made headlines with cheeky Christmas cards. For years, they featured Gretzky, her white cat. One card showed Sanchez, wearing pink flannel pajamas, snuggling in bed with Gretzky. Another showed the congresswoman in a tank top on a motorcycle, with Gretzky perched on the handlebars.

Actually, these Christmas cards are kind of charming. Cute and weird, but they have a humanizing element necessary for a successful House Rep to connect with constituents.

Loretta and former husband with Gretsky
If Harris wants to tarnish her new opponent over Christmas cards, however, she must be more scared about her chances than realized.

Democratic Strategist and Boxer campaign adviser shared little positive about a Sanchez campaign:

There’s a genuine hunger for a history-making Latino candidate in this race, but Loretta Sanchez is probably not the answer to that hunger. One could call her actions eccentric, or courageously charting her own path, or bad political judgment. But they’re not actions that enhance someone’s ability to run a credible Senate campaign. They won’t help with donors. They won’t help with other elected leaders.

As far as "charting her own path", Sanchez has already taken a lead which Harris has had to follow, per LA Weekly:

Sanchez is likely to force Harris to sharpen her positions and compete for the support of Democratic interest groups and constituencies. A case in point is the hottest issue in Washington right now, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) has been particularly outspoken. In March, she penned an op/ed in The Hill in which she blasted the trade pact, calling it "a bad deal for American workers."

When asked about the TPP before, Harris has been vague. Today, however, she came out firmly against it.

Sanchez spokesman Bill Carrick wisely exploited Harris' flip-flop:

Loretta Sanchez reaffirms her opposition to TPP this AM and Kamala Harris announces her position for the first time later the same day. Seems to be a case of Follow the Leader.

A few days before the House Rep's announcement, Harris touted a long list of endorsements from key power brokers in Orange County.  With Sanchez in the race, however, Harris may find more independent leaders and interest groups gravitating toward a candidate with gravitas, no matter how controversial or quirky her character and candidacy.

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