Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is one of the few Blue Dog Democrats to have pulled off a victory last night. I never really thought that she was in big danger of losing this seat, but her decisive victory (of nearly 10 percentage points over Van Tran) in a tough political climate does afford her the ability to be more provocative and to take more political risks, especially in regards to issues like immigration, drug policies, and civil liberties. It wasn’t until recently that Congresswoman Sanchez finally co-sponsored the DREAM Act. And even last year, Congresswoman Sanchez indicated that she may support a pilot program to legalize marijuana, but I didn’t see her address the Proposition 19 issue in the press this election cycle. Sanchez can now firmly stand up for the undocumented in her district, the young people who are disproportionately affected by the current drug policies, and even challenge the establishment within her party on issues like the Patriot Act and the wars. Now is the time for her to roll up her sleeves and to get serious about producing results for California’s 47th District.
I even predict that Loretta Sanchez will grow old in this seat because she endured the Van Tran battle and seems to be comfortable taking up space in the House, but last night’s victory can be a turning point for her. She can either continue to be known for her silly Holiday cards and trips to the Playboy mansion or she can pick up the torch and take cues from some of the more productive members of congress. I hope that she does the latter and ditches the Blue Dog affiliation because Moveon.org was soliciting volunteers for her campaign for the past few weeks, and that organization has specifically targeted Blue Dog Democrats in the past.