You may not know Alexandria Coronado, but you will, if she has her way. Coronado is a trustee for the Orange County Board of Education, and she has come to the somewhat startling conclusion that she can defeat powerhouse U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez, for the 47th Congressional District.
Does Coronado have a chance? She certainly has the internal fortitude to take on Sanchez. Coronado's father is a decorated veteran, and he served on the Cypress City Council. He also ran for the Congress some years back, against former U.S. Representative Bob Dornan. It is easy to identify where Alexandria Coronado got her spine!
Coronado concedes the fact that Democrats have a substantial edge in
registration, in the district in question. They lead the GOP by a factor of 47% to 34.7%. However, 14% of the area voters are independents. If the GOP can increase their registrations to 36%, then the seat should be considered in play.
Does Sanchez have any vulnerabilities? She certainly has considerable strengths. Sanchez entered the history books when she defeated Dornan in 1996. This year she did it again when she helped her sister, attorney Linda Sanchez, to seize a new congressional district in the Whittier area.
Sanchez has however also misfired of late, most spectacularly by not endorsing the hotly contested recall of Santa Ana Unified School District trustee Nativo Lopez. He was dismissed by an astounding 70% of local voters - and they replaced him with a Republican. This bodes well for Coronado, who as a county education trustee can easily trump Sanchez on the all-important issue of education. Moreover, the recall election resulted in a gain of 2,000 Republican voters in the district!
Sanchez also has made it a point to hold fundraisers with the assistance of porno magazine king Hugh Hefner. Indeed she is pictured in the latest issue of Hefner's flagship magazine, Playboy. That is not a good idea when you consider how many of her constituents are devout Catholics who abhor pornography. Similarly, Sanchez is rabidly pro-abortion, but again her constituents tend to be pro-life. She is out of touch with them on this important issue.
Sanchez is also the only member of the Orange County Congressional delegation who voted against the request by President Bush for Congressional permission to wage war against Iraq. Orange County is replete with military families, and many Latinos have either served or continue to serve our country in that capacity. Will they vote for Sanchez when Coronado "outs" her record?
Ultimately, we must consider if the Orange County Republican Congressional Committee will support Coronado. One has to wonder. They did not do much for Santa Ana school teacher Gloria Matta Tuchman when she bravely took on Sanchez in the 2000 election. Still, the next election is in 2004, and it would make sense to tie up Sanchez with a contested race rather than concede the district and
let Sanchez spend her time trying to get a Democrat elected to the White House.
Coronado is currently trying to get support from Republican Congressmen like Ed Royce, Chris Cox and Dana Rohrabacher. They should immediately sign on and let the public know that the California Republican Party is serious about reaching out to Latinos. It has been easy in past elections to lampoon the CRP for making lots of noise about Latino outreach while failing to support its Latino candidates. With the election of Mario Rodriguez to the post of Vice Chair of the CRP, one can only hope that candidates like Coronado won't get the brush off as we enter the next round of elections.
Pedroza served as the inaugural Hispanic Outreach Director for the Republican Party of Orange County from '96-'98. He now represents the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, in L.A. & Orange counties. Contact Art at email@example.com.