Tue. Oct 4th, 2022
U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez

U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez should be dropping out of her race for the U.S. Senate very soon.  And with good reason.  She currently holds a safe seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 46th Congressional District.  But now that she is damaged beyond belief, by the insensitive “war whoop” she uttered at this weekend’s Democratic Party Convention, is her safe seat suddenly not so safe?



Who might challenge Sanchez?

Well we know that there will be challengers on the right (although my sources say that Irvine Councilwoman Lynn Schott will not be one of them after all).  But does the GOP really have a shot at the 46th C.D.?

  • Sanchez wrecked Lake Forest carpetbagger Adam Nick in 2014 by over 16,000 votes, according to Smart Voter.
  • Sanchez easily beat Tea Party carpetbagger Jerry Hayden in 2012 by 41,000 votes, according to Smart Voter.
  • And she beat former State Assemblyman Van Tran in 2012, by 13,000 votes, according to Smart Voter. The margin might have been higher save for the presence of then-independent Cecilia Iglesias on the same ballot.  She got over 7,400 votes that may have otherwise gone to Sanchez.

So no, the Republican Party cannot beat Sanchez, even now that she is wounded.  Just look at the voter registration – 47% of the registered voters are Democrats and 27.7% are Republicans.  The balance are Decline to State and third party voters.

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and former State Legislator Lou Correa

But a Democrat might be able to beat Sanchez now.  The problem of course is that while most O.C. Democratic Party leaders are not supporting Sanchez for the U.S. Senate, you can expect that they will circle the wagons around her House seat.  So only a very independent or very brave Democrat would have the guts to challenge Sanchez.

You can cross former State Legislators Lou Correa and Jose Solorio off the list – neither one of them has much moxy.

And Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido is not likely interested either.  He has young kids and he has told me that he wants to run for reelection in Santa Ana in 2016.

Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez

Nor do I see Pulido’s City Council colleague, Michele Martinez, going for the House seat. Oh sure she would love to go to Congress but after she got spanked in her 2012 State Assembly race I can’t see her being able to raise the money required to mount a Congressional campaign.

How about former Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez, who now serves on the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Trustees?  As a Deputy Orange County District Attorney she has a great ballot title – and she has more gravitas than Sanchez, although she did once compare a local Jewish developer/gentrifier to Hitler – which went over about as well as Sanchez’ war whoop.

SAUSD Trustee Valerie Amezcua

And there are two Amezcuas in the wings – although both would be long shots.  One of them, Santa Ana City Councilwoman Angie Amezcua, was accidentally elected after not campaigning in 2012 (her ballot title of “Teacher” proved to be the difference) and the other, Santa Ana Unified School District Valerie Amezcua finally won an election in 2014, after years of losing.

What about white Democrats?  The two names you hear are State Assemblyman Tom Daly and Anaheim City Councilman Jordan Brandman.  However 67% of the voters in the 46th C.D. are Latino.  They don’t normally vote in large numbers but 2016 is a Presidential election year and it is likely that both the Democratic and the Republican Parties will have Latino Vice Presidential nominees on their respective General Election ballots.

State Assemblyman Tom Daly

That said, Daly is a longtime friend of Sanchez.  He helped turn her into a Democrat years ago after she lost an Anaheim City Council election when she was a Republican.  He won’t run against her now.

Brandman?  Are you kidding me?  Sanchez worked her tail off to elect him to the Anaheim City Council.  He might go for her seat if she vacates it but not if she is holding it.

Anaheim City Councilman Jordan Brandman
Anaheim City Councilman Jordan Brandman

My money would be on Alvarez but I don’t know that she could raise the money needed to take the 46th C.D.  And Santa Ana’s gentrifiers really hate her.

In the end Sanchez just might be able to hang on to her House seat – but it may be the toughest election of her life.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

4 thoughts on “Will Loretta Sanchez have to fight to hang on to her U.S. House seat?”
  1. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez prides herself on being unscripted and, sometimes, that can backfire. She’s being vilified by telling a story and then using a “war whoop” in making a point. In that gesture, she may have offended Native Americans. Sanchez has publicly apologized for the comment.

    While the public has seen the video and learned of the story, what’s lost is the context behind the initial story. The Democratic Party’s Indian-American caucus was having a reception on Saturday night, so they were inviting people including Ms. Sanchez (I got an invite along with a friend from the LA Times) to attend.

    Before a group of people, Sanchez was telling a story of how, way back in 1996, she got a call from someone in Southern California, named Sunil Aghi, who said he said he wanted to help her. And he wanted to know that the Indian-American community was behind her, and he asked to meet. While the words “Indian-American” came out, Sanchez heard “American-Indian.” So she went to the meeting expecting to see a tribal representative, and was surprised when instead, she met with an Indian-American. She was naïve then because the Indian-American community wasn’t very active in Orange County.

    Since then, Sanchez has traveled to extensively India (regarding nuclear energy issues and hospital construction), seen the great work that Indian Americans are doing here, and is proud to be supported by Southern California’s Indian-American community. Aghi, a community activist, traveled with President Clinton and Congresswoman Sanchez in 2000 (Aghi has since passed away). Sanchez was trying to convey how far Southern California’s Indian-American community has come in a short time.

    The confusion on her part was honest, the attempt at humor wasn’t funny, and for voters, the apology was sincere.
    From LOC –

      1. She is not asking to be excused from what she said. In fact, she apologized for what she said. Now, running from the media – that was a silly, immature thing to do. But that’s Loretta for you ……

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