Pham with Meg Whitman
Pham with Meg Whitman

Register: There's Finally A Candidate Who Can Beat Loretta Sanchez

​Over at the Orange Punch blog for the OC Register opinion writers, columnist Brian Calle wonders aloud today if local Republicans are closer to "no more Loretta Sanchez" because of the emergence of Quang Pham.

Pham is a Republican who is attempting to defeat Republican state Assemblyman Van Tran, for their party's nomination to face Sanchez in November. Unlike Tran, whose occupation is professional politician, Pham's resume is loaded: successful businessman, speaker, author and former Marine Corps pilot. It's because Pham isn't so political that Calle thinks he has the best chance to topple Sanchez. 

And there's also this: In Calle's opinion, Sanchez has made a huge political blunder by supporting more liberal elements of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform proposals. The moderate voters of the district are likely to punish her for that, he believes.

Is the Reg columnist onto something or off on a wishful rant? In January, he took a hatchet to Avatar, calling director James Cameron's work not a sci-fi flick but a "preachy, psychedelic satiation of leftist worldviews." Don't think I'd enjoy going to movies with this guy. 

Calle's right about one thing at least. There's is no doubt that Pham, whom I've known for years, is a solid person. But there are plenty of questions surrounding his candidacy: Can he raise enough money? Can he greatly improve his name ID? Will his stances impress district voters? In the primary, can he tackle a more crafty Tran, who has proved he can win elections?

But if Pham does grab the GOP nomination, he then faces two monumental hurdles. Orange County's lone Democrat in Congress has enjoyed solid, loyal support from Vietnamese voters in Little Saigon. That group would likely have to turn on the congresswoman for Pham to win. 

And, since she upset incumbent Republican Representative Robert K. Dornan in 1996, Sanchez has crushed--count 'em--six consecutive GOPer challengers at the ballot box in the Santa Ana-Anaheim-Garden Grove district.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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