The national media is starting to send its reporters to our sordid little burb, specifically the 47th Congressional District, where incumbent Loretta Sanchez is facing her first true challenger ever in State Assemblymember Van Tran. Politicodid an okay job
; theLos Angeles Times
publisheda retread this weekend seemingly cobbled
from Wikipedia and candidate website bios. More stories will undoubtedly appear, as it hits so many issues pertinent to the future of this country and has two wackjobs--but we're getting ahead of ourselves.
As a token of goodwill for our fellow reporters, we at the Weekly--who have followed Sanchez closer and more critically than any other publication--offer five important things to keep in mind for their profiles that will explain Sanchez best to a national audience.
In no particular order and click here forthis article's companion piece on Tran
*Sanchez only won and wins because in 1996, she realized she was a Mexican--and the local Republicans fucked things up with them: In 1994, Loretta--then going by her married name, Brixey, and registered as a Republican--lost in her attempt to join the Anaheim City Council. Winning that year was Lou Lopez, like Brixey a moderate Latino Republican; another Latino Republican, Gaddi Vasquez, served on the Board of Supervisors; and another, Tom Fuentes, headed the Orange County GOP. Mexicans were more than happy to vote Republican then.
But 1994 was also the same year of Proposition 187, the SB 1070 of its day and born and raised in Orange County. Two years later, Loretta put on her maiden name, switched parties (but not her politics), and became a Congresswoman. If the local GOP hadn't made its party so toxic to Latino voters or candidates (only a handful of GOP Latinos have won elections in Orange County since), betcha Sanchez remained a Reep, Bob Dornan gets at least a couple more terms, and a different Democrat eventually wins.
*Republicans hate her. No, really: they hate her. Seriously hate her: Maybe it's because she's a woman. Maybe it's because she's a Mexican woman. Maybe it's because she used to be one of their own. Or maybe it's because she kicks their ass every two years. But the OC GOP has obsessed over every aspect of Loretta since she took office, from her marital status (currently single) to Christmas cards she sends out every year, to what she wears. If you believe them, Loretta is a sluttier Barbara Boxer, a browner Pelosi, a more-masculine Reid. It's quite amusing, actually.
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*Sanchez didn't usually live in the 47th Congressional District: Had a nice home in Rancho Palos Verdes, she did.
*Sanchez has created no political machine of her own: The hallmark of ethnic politics in America has been the creation of political machines, of politicos dotting their candidates across the spectrum. Loretta has never much cared for this--she's not even a kingmaker ala Palin. Her ultimate legacy to Orange County's political scene will be be a generation of pissed-off Republicans, which is a good thing--but still.
*Sanchez is scared shitless--and it's all her fault: There is no logical reason why the race between Loretta and Trans should be close--the 47th is heavily Democrat, heavily Latino, she's served for 14 years, and has destroyed all her previous competitors. But because Sanchez has grown so stagnant, has become so over-confident, and has done nothing to ingratiate herself to district voters other than be a Mexican woman, she's running for her political life. If Tran does indeed win, national observers, it won't be a Tea Party upset--it'll be a disaster all borne from Loretta complacency.
Let us know if you have any other questions, reporters!