California Senate Race: Loretta Sanchez Forced to Look for Republican Votes

Loretta Sanchez (Tommaso Boddi / Getty)
Tommaso Boddi / Getty

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) is trying to woo Republicans to vote for her in the race against California Attorney General Kamala Harris for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)’s seat.

The Democrats are going up against each other thanks to California’s top-two or “jungle” primary system, under which the first- and second-place finishers in the primary compete in the general election, regardless of party.

Sanchez has not garnered as much support as Harris among Democrats. As such, she’s turning to the other party to achieve gains at the polls.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Sanchez has appeared on several conservative talk shows, touted her record against “Islamic extremists,” met with farmers and ranchers, and will meet with U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton on Thursday, where Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) will also be present.

“It’s not like she’s going to suddenly become something she’s not,” Bill Carrick, Sanchez’s political consultant, told the Times. “But a lot of what is in her record is what Republicans like: national security experience, homeland security experience. There’s plenty of Republicans who like the fact that she voted against the war in Iraq. There are a lot of Republicans who like the fact that she voted against the Wall Street bailout.”

Former San Diego City Councilman and openly-gay Republican Carl DeMaio reportedly had Sanchez as a guest on his conservative radio talk show on KOGO-AM in San Diego last week, where he said “I’m not sold on you at this point, but I can tell you right now I’m definitely urging a ‘no’ vote on Harris.”

Sanchez replied, “If you don’t vote, then Ms. Harris and her party establishment will win.”

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt reportedly endorsed Sanchez in July. He later took the endorsement to Twitter:

Two prominent Southern California Republicans, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and former Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of Santa Clarita, endorsed Sanchez this summer. She has also received the backing of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

However, Harris has a substantial advantage over Sanchez in terms of fundraising. Last month, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who has endorsed Harris — hosted a fundraiser for her in New York.

Sanchez reportedly has $1.1 million in her campaign war chest at the end of June. Harris currently has $2.9 million.

The Times notes that a Field poll conducted in early July found that 39% of likely voters (and nearly half of likely Democratic voters) supported Harris, compared with 24% for Sanchez.

The same poll also found that 56% of Republicans and 41% of independents, and voters in other parties, were still undecided or did not support either candidate. The Times notes that “it’s that group of untethered California voters that offers Sanchez a glimmer of hope in November, if she can win them over.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz



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