Republicans and independents are poised to play a key role in the race — if they get involved, that is, and Sanchez has made a pivot toward the right in recent weeks.
The effort does not appear to be working. A statewide poll conducted for USC Dornsife and The Times this month by SurveyMonkey found 16% of registered voters, mostly self-described Republicans and independents, have decided to skip the first open U.S. Senate race that California has seen in 24 years — the same percentage of voters who favor Sanchez. Support for Harris came in at almost double that level at 30%.
And more than a third of California voters indicated they still “don’t know” which Senate candidate they’ll pick on Nov. 8, according to the poll.
Seventeen of the state’s 39 House Democrats have backed Sanchez, nine have backed Harris, according to the campaigns, and many of the rest said they are staying out of the race entirely. The Democrats have said they’ve tried to keep the situation from becoming awkward with a colleague many have known for decades.Among GOP House members, only Darrell Issa has explicitly endorsed Sanchez, though others have praised her.