The Sacramento Bee, Politico and other outlets reported Tuesday afternoon that Rep. Loretta Sanchez had sent an email to supporters saying she would announce her 2016 U.S. Senate candidacy Thursday morning in Santa Ana.
But a short while later, the Los Angeles Times’ Michael Finnegan tweeted that Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, had told him that a draft announcement had been released mistakenly. “I have actually not made a decision,” he quoted her as saying. “That is the truth.”
And a short while after that, the Bee reported that a Sanchez campaign consultant had confirmed the email was sent out in error. I left a message with Sanchez’s office a few hours ago, but it wasn’t returned.
Sanchez has been busy in recent months meeting with Latino Democrats up and down the state, many of whom have been concerned that Attorney General Kamala Harris – the only prominent Democrat in this race so far – seems headed for a coronation that keeps their growing bloc out of the loop. And the timing seemed right, as Sanchez, Harris and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles – who also is contemplating a Senate run – all are scheduled to address the Chicano Latino Caucus at the California Democratic Party convention this Saturday in Anaheim.
But this “She has decided! No she hasn’t!” fiasco isn’t a good omen for Sanchez, said Larry Sabato, who directs the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“When a horse stumbles out of the gate, it almost never wins,” he said. “It’s highly embarrassing and it’s a terrible start to what will be an uphill challenge anyway.”
Sabato acknowledged this must be “a tough decision for her because she’s giving up a safe seat in the House for a chancy run at the Senate. She certainly will not be the frontrunner; Harris has lined up a remarkable team and war chest.”
It’s rare for a single candidate like Harris to essentially clear the field for an open seat in so big a state, but given Democrats’ strong advantage, this race “is over before it starts if there isn’t a strong second Democrat in the runoff,” Sabato said.
Sanchez and Becerra would be wooing many of the same Latino and Southern California audiences, he added. “I would be stunned if both of them ran, I would be a little surprised if neither of them ran.”
UPDATE @ 3:38 P.M. WEDNESDAY: Aaaaand now Sanchez IS indeed making “a significant political announcement” at 11 a.m. Thursday in Santa Ana. Full story here.