Monday’s LA Times carried this story that shows the race for US Senate in California may be a two Democratic-candidate race. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez started from ground zero this Spring and is now within 10 points of State AG Kamala Harris. None of the Republicans in the race are even close to challenging.
According to the Times, Loretta’s strength comes largely from Latino voters and he leads throughout Southern California with the exception of LA and Ventura Counties.
From the story: State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is holding her lead in the race to succeed Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, but strong support among Latinos has enabled Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County to establish herself as a serious rival, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.
The survey found Harris leading Sanchez, a fellow Democrat, 26% to 17% among registered voters, followed by former state Republican chairman Tom Del Beccaro, with 10%, and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), with 9%.
Latino voters are a crucial foundation for Sanchez, the survey found: They favor her over Harris 34% to 18%. People who took the survey in Spanish are her strongest constituency; more than half of them support Sanchez, a daughter of Mexican immigrants.
Sanchez first won national attention in 1996, when she ousted Republican firebrand Bob Dornan from Congress, a major breakthrough for Latinos in California.
But she remains relatively unknown outside Orange County. The only areas where she was leading Harris in the poll were Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties.
Should Sanchez make it to the finals after the June 2016 primary, Latino voters — who come out in force for a President General Election in November — and Republicans are likely to send their votes to Loretta instead of Kamala Harris who is viewed as an extreme Liberal.
Harris also doesn’t appear to be campaigning aggressively; her campaign fundraising email appeals are pretty soft and unfocused. Sanchez must campaign aggressively to sell the idea of a Senator from Southern California to voters in Los Angeles County and in Metro LA in general. She’s also going to need to make the case that she’s a friend to voters in Silicon Valley and San Francisco due to her years of experience in Washington.