It's that time of year again: Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has sent out her annual holiday card.
Uptight Capitol Hill has had a conniption fit in years past over Sanchez's choice of pictures for her seasons greetings — the Congresswoman astride a motorcycle or posing with her beloved cat Gretzky on her lap.
This year's card features the Anaheim Congresswoman and husband Jack Einwechter and a message that's an optimistic riff on the current deficit reduction negotiations: "May you dance with joy this holiday season (just not too close to fiscal cliffs)." There's also a nod to the late Gretzky, now sporting a halo.
The card design and postage are paid for by campaign contributions, though most cards are sent out by e-mail.
The card may be all that friends and family see of Sanchez this holiday. Congressional leaders are warning members they may be back at work the week between Christmas and New Year's, voting on budget cuts and/or tax increases to avoid that fiscal cliff.
One steady source of income to Congressional campaigns in this election has been from current members. And they have lots of different ways to give.
Nancy Pelosi rose through the ranks to become the Democrats’ Congressional leader in part because of her fundraising prowess. In this election cycle, for example, she raised more than $2 million for her own campaign.
Sheila Krumholz, who heads the Center for Responsive Politics, says because Pelosi’s re-election is a lock, she can open up her purse strings: "She can then take that money to tithe to the party."
Pelosi can do this by contributing to the party's campaign arm for House members, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Krumholz says Pelosi will raise funds, "both from her campaign and from her leadership PAC. She will then support other colleagues, junior colleagues, struggling candidates for office."
A Democratic party official says Congresswomen Linda, left, and Loretta Sanchez are "our best messengers to Latino voters in these districts where the Latino vote is critical to our success."
Congressional candidates are busy getting out their messages to voters in these last few weeks before the November election. With the Latino vote being targeted around the country, a number of rising Latino Congressional stars are also working hard outside of their districts.
Redistricting has made this a particularly busy election year for Congressional Californians. Democrat Loretta Sanchez of Anaheim says when she learned in January what her new district would look like, she began knocking on the doors of "as many of the homes that are new to the district." She's also been registering new voters in her redrawn district.
But Sanchez has found the time to help out a fellow Democrat, State Senator Alan Lowenthal, who’s running for an open Congressional seat in Long Beach where 34% of district residents are Latino.