GOP’s Riordan Endorses Dem Loretta Sanchez for Senate

Richard Riordan (Jerod Harris / Getty)
Jerod Harris / Getty

It’s a knock-down, drag-out, Democrat-on-Democrat battle between Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and California Attorney General Kamala Harris for Sen. Barbara Boxer’s soon-to-be-vacant seat — and Sanchez is appealing to jilted Republicans with an endorsement from former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

The endorsement may also be calculated to appeal to moderate Democrats — and may be the first indication of Republicans putting dollars behind Sanchez.

Under California’s top-two primary system, all candidates run in a common “jungle” primary. The top two vote winners advance to the general election. Given a flood of Republican primary contenders, two Democrats — Harris and Sanchez — were able to advance.

In his endorsement, Riordan described Sanchez as able to work with not only Democrats, but Republican and independents as well, according to the Sacramento Bee. Sanchez has promoted the idea that she will be the choice of Republicans left without a conservative option due to the “jungle” primary.

Sanchez, a veteran member of Congress, is considered a moderate “Blue Dog” Democrat whose socially liberal positions helped her oust her Republican predecessor.

Harris is on the left end of the spectrum on environmental and social justice issues. She received the heavy backing of California Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Democratic Party prior to California’s primary election on June 7.

Sanchez scored as 79 percent liberal in Conservative Review ratings. On budget, spending and debt issues, she was graded 85 percent liberal. Though still liberal, Sanchez is among the least liberal of House Democrats on a variety of issues related to civil liberties, with a conservative score of 42 percent.

34 contenders for Boxer’s seat appeared on the June primary election ballot. The leading contenders on the Republican side included two former California Republican Party chairmen — one of which, Duf Sundheim, was backed by big Bay Area political donor Charles Munger Jr., the son of a billionaire business partner to Warren Buffet.

The potential still remains that hordes of California Republicans will be left without any real choice in November. The state sometimes referred to as “Reagan Country” still has heavily Republican areas — which take a hit, tax-wise and otherwise, for the state’s leftist urban regions.

California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte tried to spin a Harris-versus-Sanchez competition as good based on the money the Democrats will spend against each other. He believes that a Republican contender would have merely been a “sacraficial lamb, he told to the Bee.

But the Bee reports that at least one Republican consultant has plans to spend big money on Sanchez. Another Republican consultant seemed warm to the idea, and told the Bee that GOP donors want to weigh in on the race.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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