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Sister duo could be a first in Congress



Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on CNN.com providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

(CNN) -- Loretta and Linda Sanchez are at the threshold of becoming first sisters ever to serve in the Congress of the United States.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez ran unopposed in Tuesday's Democratic primary, and is expected to easily win a fourth term from Southern California's 46th Congressional District. Her sister Linda defeated five primary opponents and now has the Democratic nomination for the 39th District for November's general election.

CNN's Jack Cafferty spoke with the victorious sisters on Wednesday.

JACK CAFFERTY: Let me start with Linda, because you had five opponents in the primary. Your sister ran unopposed, and her victory was kind of a fait accompli. But how did you manage to have your voice heard above the voices of the other five?

LINDA SANCHEZ: Well, you know, in a very crowded field in the primary, one of the best advantages you can have is a very strong field campaign -- lots of voter contact through door-to-door walking. And we had a very strong field program, and I think that's what put us over the top.

CAFFERTY: Your mother taped an ad that ran on television in both your districts out there, and it was great. Something to the effect that, in Spanish, she told the voters, 'My daughters know that education is the key to success because I taught them.' In fact, we have a picture of that ad up on the screen now. How is she handling this growing success of the two of you?

LINDA SANCHEZ: Well, she's really thrilled. She was very excited last night when the returns came in, and I think it's pretty much the embodiment of the American dream that anybody can grow up to be president of the United States -- or, in this case, serve in the U.S. Congress.

CAFFERTY: Congressman Sanchez, address the historic significance of this. You two would be, conceivably -- if things go right in November -- the first sister act ever to serve in the Congress. Were you aware of this at the time that your sister, Linda, decided to run, and what do you make of the significance of it?

LORETTA SANCHEZ: Well, I think we're very excited about it, and, of course, all the women in the House are very excited about it because it is very historic. There have been sons and fathers who have served together in the Congress -- and brothers, of course, the Burton brothers out of California. We even have two cousins who serve together in the Congress right now, but there have never been two women. And so, it is going to be real exciting for it to be sisters, and, of course, it is even more historic because it will be Hispanics who will be serving together in the Congress.

CAFFERTY: Now, as the father of four daughters, which I am, I can testify to the fact that sisters don't always get along. Tell me a little bit about the relationship of the two of you growing up, and how you are getting along -- then versus now, perhaps.

LORETTA SANCHEZ: You know, we're seven of us in our family, and I'm at the front end, and my sister is toward the back. So there's probably been more of a bossy [relationship] from my end, and a rebel-type situation from her end, but we actually have grown up pretty well together. So, I think we are going to be able to handle things on the House floor. And I'm sure she will listen to me if it is really important and we need her vote.

CAFFERTY: Is she telling the truth, Linda?

LINDA SANCHEZ: Well, yeah. I think, on most things, Loretta and I agree. You know, sometimes our paths diverge, but I think overall, we are very good at trying to work out differences.

CAFFERTY: All right. The Republicans are, no doubt, going to bring this up in the campaign in the general election, and its a controversy of the district. You're running in Los Angeles County, Linda, because your sister runs in the district in Orange County. And you couldn't run there because that is Congresswoman Sanchez's seat. And your opponents will make something of this. A quick response to the controversy about that.

LINDA SANCHEZ: Certainly. Well, I have lived in Lakewood since 1999, when I purchased my home. But I lived there prior to that. And really, it was because I loved the community -- and the diversity of the community in Lakewood -- that I chose to purchase my first home there, as a matter of fact, and have integrated myself very well in locally. And I think that I have the experience and the tenacity to really do a good job representing the residents of the new 39th.

CAFFERTY: Well, let me congratulate you both again on your victories, wish you continued success, and point out to our viewers ... the closeness of these elections. The Republican majority in the House is pretty slim, and it's conceivable that the two of you could be instrumental in swinging control of the House of Representatives over if you win. So, thank you both for being with us. Congressman Loretta Sanchez and congressional candidate Linda Sanchez, sisters from Los Angeles. Thanks again.

LORETTA SANCHEZ: Thank you.

LINDA SANCHEZ: Thank you.



 
 
 
 







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