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Loretta Sanchez loses bid to become 1st female in leadership on Armed Services Committee

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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An Orange County congresswoman lost her bid to become the first woman in a leadership position on the House committee that oversees the military.

It was a three-way race for the job of ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove led after the first round of voting, but lost the second round by five votes.

Last night, the entire House Democratic caucus weighed in. It was nearly midnight when Congressman Adam Smith of Washington was declared the winner.

Congresswoman Sanchez took it in stride. "You know, sometimes you think it’s based on merit around here and I hope it is. But a lot of times there are a lot of considerations going on – geographic considerations and people don’t understand it’s politics within the Congress itself."

A House Democratic aide said “it’s hard to overstate just how significant her showing was,” beating the most senior Democrat on the Committee in two of the three votes.

Sanchez says she looks forward to working with Congressman Smith to, as she puts it, “ensure the welfare of our soldiers and their families are a priority.”

Another Californian will chair the committee in January: Santa Clarita Republican Buck McKeon.