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Linda Sánchez, Grace Napolitano Pick New Districts to Pursue

With Rep. Grace Napolitano’s decision this week to run in the 32nd district east of Los Angeles, fellow California Democratic Rep. Linda Sánchez announced Thursday that she will run in the newly drawn 38th district.

Until Thursday, Napolitano and Sánchez were caught in the Los Angeles logjam caused by the state’s independent redistricting commission, which redrew the state’s Congressional lines with no concern for incumbents. There will likely be three intraparty, Member-vs.-Member races in the Los Angeles area alone.

Napolitano and Sánchez both live in the 38th district, and Napolitano announced early on that she would run there while Sánchez remained publicly quiet about her intentions. But Napolitano changed her mind this week, saying she would run in the 32nd district because she “felt that it would be better to have two strong Latina Congresswomen representing the people of this area instead of just one.”

Had Napolitano not switched, Sánchez could have opted to run in the open 47th district based in Long Beach, which mostly lies outside her current district.

“It has been a privilege serving the constituents of the 39th District, and I hope to have the honor of serving these communities again by representing the 38th District,” Sánchez said in a statement Thursday. “I have fought hard to improve our community and make Southern California a better place to live and work. I hope that I have earned the voters’ trust to return to Washington as their voice and work just as hard to create jobs and turn this economy around.”

Republican Rep. David Dreier lives in the new 32nd district based in the San Gabriel Valley. But the district has a Latino majority and is solidly Democratic, and he is expected to either retire or run somewhere else, rather than challenge Napolitano.

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D) abandoned his bid for the 32nd district after Napolitano’s announcement, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported. Two other Democratic candidates in the district — Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and El Monte Councilwoman Norma Macias, a cousin of Sanchez’s — did not immediately announce whether Napolitano’s decision would affect their plans.

Sánchez faces a likely intraparty challenge from state Sen. Ron Calderon, who thought he was challenging Napolitano when he announced his candidacy in August.

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