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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