We’ve had a Latina Supreme Court Justice, a Latina governor, and Latina Congresswomen.
But never a Latina U.S. Senator.
Loretta Sanchez is hoping to change that.
But the 55-year-old, 10-term U.S. representative from Orange County is already facing long odds.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Sanchez’s main challenger in the race to fill retiring Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat, has raised $2.9 million in just a few months. She’s also received endorsements from other prominent California Latinos.
But Sanchez told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos that the experiences she’s accumulated from 18 years in the U.S. Congress trump any dollar amount, and that Harris’ campaign has been burning through her funds at an unsustainable rate.
“I don’t need as much money as Miss Harris does,” she said. “I come from a part of the state that is much better known.”
Sanchez’s campaign began less than auspiciously. Just a few days after announcing her candidacy, she made an apparently offensive reference to Native Americans while recounting a story about preparing for an in-person meeting with a man who’d described himself as Indian.
Sanchez told Fusion that her apology for the incident had been accepted by southern California’s Native American community, but the image is likely to linger.
Still, she is likely to capitalize on the backlash emerging from Donald Trump’s recent comments about undocumented workers. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Sanchez pointed out the hypocrisy of Trump’s remarks.
“It is so sad to watch a man who has built his empire on the hard work of Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants in this country,” she said. “When you look at casinos, hoteling, restaurants building construction and building management, all areas where he has made millions if not billions of dollars, and the majority of his workers have probably been Latino or Mexican American, how dare he say that we are criminals and rapists?”
Finally, Sanchez, who serves on the Homeland and House Armed Services Committee told Fusion her thoughts on President Obama’s Iran deal, which the House will soon be voting on.
“I do not trust Iran,” she said. “I believe that some of the deal points are the best deal points we could have. I would be very reticent to agree to the deal myself at this point.”