Tuchman sizes up her chances vs. Sanchez

POLITICS: The Republican schoolteacher is polling the district to see if she could topple Dornan's nemesis.

Republican Gloria Matta Tuchman, co-author of last year’s “English only” initiative for schools, may later this week announce a challenge to Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana.

Tuchman, who failed in last year’s bid to become state schools superintendent, said she is polling in Sanchez’s central-county 46th Congressional District and expects to make a decision by Friday.

“I don’t want to go into this blindly,” said Tuchman, 57, a first-grade teacher. “I want to make sure it’s a winnable situation. “

Sanchez defeated Republican opponent Robert K. Dornan in November, winning 57 percent of the vote. In 1996, she narrowly upset the then-incumbent Dornan.

Democrats account for 45.7 percent of the voters in the district; Republicans, 37.2 percent. The district includes Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Anaheim, and has a large Hispanic population.

“On one hand, it’s a Democratic district, and any Republican is going to have an uphill battle,” said Jack Pitney, a former GOP staffer now teaching political science at Claremont McKenna College. “On the other hand, Gloria Tuchman has one great advantage: She’s not Bob Dornan.

“In ’96 and ’98, a lot of people were not voting for Sanchez so much as they were voting against Dornan. “

Tuchman, a Tustin resident, teaches in Santa Ana and served on the Tustin Unified School Board from 1985 to 1994. She won 47 percent of the vote for schools superintendent in her loss to Democratic incumbent Delaine Eastin last year.

The initiative she co-authored, Proposition 227, virtually eliminated bilingual education in public schools, passing with 61 percent of the vote.

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