Ever since Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s comments in a Spanish-language interview went viral on the Internet last week, the profile of her Republican opponent, Van Tran, has risen to national heights.
“Van has become a national candidate,” campaign manager George Andrews said. “The blogosphere has ran with the story, and our web hits have dramatically increased on the site.”
In an interview on Univision two weeks ago, Sanchez said in Spanish: “The Vietnamese and the Republicans are, with an intensity, trying to take this seat from which we have done so much for our community — to take this seat and give it to this Van Tran, who is very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic.”
Her remarks sparked instant criticism from Tran, who was born in Vietnam and moved to the U.S. in high school, as well as others.
Sanchez held a news conference in the district on Friday, saying if “I offended anyone, I apologize for those remarks.”
The Tran campaign has seen an evident uptick in fundraising and used the flap Monday in a fundraising e-mail.
Whether Tran can translate this newfound publicity and money into votes is the question. The Orange County-based district is two-thirds Hispanic (but with a large Vietnamese voting bloc), and Sanchez has been re-elected with at least 60 percent in each of the past five cycles.