POLITICS

House GOP leader endorses Democrat Rep. Sanchez in U.S. Senate race in California

Kamala Harris (left) and Loretta Sanchez. (Photos: Getty Images)

Kamala Harris (left) and Loretta Sanchez. (Photos: Getty Images)

Saying that she’s the best bet in the Senate race to succeed retiring Barbara Boxer, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa crossed party lines and endorsed his colleague Rep. Loretta Sanchez this past weekend.

Issa emphasized Sanchez’s support for U.S. troops and a strong national defense system as key factors for his endorsement of the congresswoman.

“I’ve already long ago figured out that Loretta Sanchez, her work on national security, probably tips the scale for a lot of us,” Issa told The Los Angeles Times after he and Sanchez visited several military installations in San Diego last week.

With many of California’s Democratic leaders backing Sanchez’s rival in the race, state Attorney General Kamala Harris, the congresswoman needs Republicans, independents and moderate Democrats, experts say. 

Harris, who has a double-digit lead in the polls, recently got a boost from some of the state’s Latino leadership.

State Senate President Kevin De Leόn, Sen. Ricardo Lara and former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez all have endorsed Harris. But among Latino voters in California, Sanchez is the preferred candidate, the Times reported.

Endorsing Sanchez gives Issa a chance to smooth over his reputation as the House GOP’s attack dog, as the Times put it, on the Obama administration.

“What most people don’t understand, because they see politics and Republicans and Democrats fighting all the time, the reality is that we need to do our work in the Congress,” Sanchez said after the tours, which were not open to the media. “And to do that you have to work with both sides of the aisle, and that’s what we do especially on the military committee.’’

Barbara Boxer was first elected to Congress in 1982. If Sanchez were to win, she would be the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate. That is a title that in Nevada, former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who is a Democrat, is also hoping for as she runs to succeed retiring Sen. Harry Reid.

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