SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --Rep. Loretta Sanchez made it official on Tuesday by filing her paperwork for her U.S. Senate bid to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer, who retires at the end of her term in 2017.
The 56-year-old Democrat took the oath at the Orange County Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana, the district she represents.
"I'm pretty excited. As you know, many of my colleagues in the House of Representatives who have worked for many years with me have asked me over and over to please consider running," Sanchez said.
So far, her closest competition is California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris' campaign pointed out that at last weekend's state Democratic convention, Harris earned nearly 80 percent of the votes to win the party's endorsement.
Sanchez said her own life experience makes her the most qualified. Sanchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents sacrificed to put seven children through university. Sanchez says she has more foreign policy experience than Harris, having visited war zones including Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I have legislative experience. There is no other candidate who has cast a vote in the United States Congress. I have done it. I have 20 years of votes," Sanchez said.
Sanchez said some of the key issues are immigration reform, affordable education and help for small business.
Sanchez admits Harris may be ahead in the polls, but Sanchez says she herself has come in a strong second with no one else even close. She's confident she'll get through the June primary.
"Those voters, when they see the story and the experience level of the different candidates, will always come and vote Loretta Sanchez," Sanchez said.