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Rep. Loretta Sanchez criticized for remarks

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez was dealing with backlash following controversial remarks she made to a reporter in Spanish.

September 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Orange County Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez was dealing with backlash following controversial remarks she made to a reporter in Spanish.The Republican contender for her seat, Van Tran, has demanded an apology for what he called a "negative message" of "racial division."

Sanchez made the comments in a televised interview Sunday on Univision. She told the reporter in Spanish, "The Vietnamese and the Republicans are with an intensity trying to take away this seat" and give it to her challenger, who she called very anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic.

The scandal comes as Sanchez faces a tough reelection battle, leading Van Tran by only a few percentage points in the polls. The 47th Congressional District she represents is 70 percent Hispanic and more than 9 percent Vietnamese. Half of the residents are foreign-born, including her Vietnamese opponent.

"It's quite shocking for her to use such language and to mischaracterize and basically really slander me by saying that I am anti-Latino and anti-immigrant," said Tran.

Sanchez's campaign said her statement referred to members of the Vietnamese community that support Tran, saying, "she continues to be grateful that her Vietnamese-American constituents have entrusted her to represent their values and priorities."

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