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Rep. Sanchez’s Sister Weighs Run for Assembly

TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

Linda Sanchez, the younger sister of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), said Tuesday she is giving serious consideration to running for the Santa Ana Assembly seat held by Republican Jim Morrissey.

The 69th Assembly District is contained within Loretta Sanchez’s congressional district and the sisters believe that if they run together, it might benefit both of their campaigns.

In order to face Morrissey, however, Linda Sanchez, would have to defeat Lou Correa in the Democratic primary. Correa came within 93 votes of besting Morrissey in last year’s Assembly contest, and plans a return run in 1998, he said.

Linda Sanchez, 28, is a lawyer and political novice, who currently lives outside the district in Orange. She said she is in the process of buying a condominium within the 69th District, which includes almost all of Santa Ana, and small portions of Garden Grove, Anaheim, Tustin, Orange and Fountain Valley.

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“I am definitely looking into running,” said Linda Sanchez. “I always thought I’d go into public service and would be well suited for it.”

Morrissey, who has represented the predominantly Democratic district since 1994, said he would leave the Linda Sanchez-Correa tussle to the Democrats. “It doesn’t make a heck of a lot of difference to me. They are both lawyers and I don’t think the people of this district want more lawyers in Sacramento,” he said.

Having Loretta Sanchez’s sister running “sounds a little arrogant to me. It sounds maybe like [the congresswoman] is trying to build a dynasty,” Morrissey said.

Both sisters insisted that the congresswoman wants Linda Sanchez to make her own decision and will not try to influence her.

Rep. Sanchez said the two had “a very generic discussion” about a number of options including the possibility that Linda Sanchez might seek a seat on a local city council or school board, and said she expected her sister to make up her own mind.

“Linda has her own way of making decisions,” Rep. Sanchez said. “I didn’t go out and say ‘Why don’t you run for this?’ ”

The congresswoman said she was certain that “there would be a lot of synergy” between the two campaigns if her sister won the Democratic primary. She acknowledged that her campaign and Correa’s did not work well together in 1996.

Correa, who has the support of Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante and other key Democrats in Sacramento, said that while he has heard that criticism, the two candidates ran different campaigns. Correa said his primary task was to turn out voters.

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“This area is notorious for people not voting,” Correa said. Republican Morrissey won handily in 1994 despite Democrats having a registration edge of 20 percentage points.

Correa said he always assumed he would have competition in next year’s primary from people who believe that the Santa Ana-based seat could go Democratic.

“I almost beat Jim Morrissey by coming out of nowhere and he was heavily financed and outspent me,” Correa said.

Wylie Aitken, who is heavily involved in county Democratic politics and was Rep. Sanchez’s campaign chairman, said he had “significant misgivings” about Linda Sanchez’s candidacy, in part because it could create a negative impression of Rep. Sanchez, who has been targeted by the Republican Party for defeat. Aitken, however, described Linda Sanchez’s potential candidacy as “a wake-up call” for Correa, and said some people “express concerns about whether Lou works hard enough.”

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“This is a seat we should win,” he said. “What Linda Sanchez does is solely within the control of Lou Correa, who has to go out and show people how hard he is going to work.”


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