As Attorney General Kamala Harris has gone unchallenged in her candidacy for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat, speculation has focused on whether a Latino candidate who could more effectively represent the needs of the state’s large Latino population would emerge to run for the office. On Monday, Rep. Loretta Sanchez will speak at a luncheon of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, possibly announcing her candidacy, according to The Orange County Register. The Democratic Foundation of Orange County has supported Sanchez since her 1996 victory over incumbent GOP Representative Bob Dornan.
After former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa bowed out, eyes turned toward Sanchez, who told Fox News Latino that a Latino candidate “will energize the community in ways that other candidates cannot.”
On April 10, according to The Sacramento Bee, she clearly indicated to Latino leaders in San Francisco that she would be preferable to Harris, asserting:
I believe we have experience that Kamala does not have. In the Senate, (you) need somebody who already understands what’s going on. I don’t have any ramp-up. You know, I mean we can’t afford somebody who’s never–who doesn’t understand what’s going on in the world.
She said at that meeting she would announce her decision as to whether she was running by the end of this week.
According to a February Field Poll, the most popular candidate for Boxer’s seat is actually a Republican, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has said she will not run. Rice garnered 49% of respondents favoring her prospective candidacy, Harris got 46%, Sanchez received 39%, and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla amassed 38%.
By the beginning of April, Harris had raised $2.5 million in her Senate account. Sanchez had raised $1.3 million in her House account by the beginning of 2015.
The California Democrats convention, which will be held May 15-17, already features Harris as one of the speakers. Sanchez is not yet on the bill.