Thursday, November 17, 2005

Republicans, Immigration & Elections

Linda Chavez:

REPUBLICAN candidates hoping to make illegal immigration a central issue in next year's Congressional elections and the 2008 presidential race should consider the results of the Virginia governor's contest.

The Republican candidate, Jerry Kilgore, tried to tap into sentiment against illegal aliens by running advertisements that featured grainy video of border arrests and Hispanic men waiting in line while an announcer accused his Democratic opponent, Tim Kaine, of favoring "taxpayer benefits for illegal immigrants." In the last weeks of the race, Mr. Kilgore regularly worked the theme into his campaign speeches, especially in Northern Virginia, home to most of the state's immigrant population, legal and illegal.

But on Election Day, immigration failed to galvanize voters, and Mr. Kilgore lost by six percentage points, coming up short even in reliably conservative areas like Loudoun County, where I live. No doubt other missteps, including harshly negative ads on his opponent's position on the death penalty, contributed to Mr. Kilgore's defeat. But clearly, immigrant bashing can cut both ways in an election.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything I've read about Kilgore's defeat suggests that his biggest problem was that the Republican base failed to turn out. The Republican base is rightfully disgusted with its own leadership in both the White House and Congress. They are angry about the expansion of the Federal Government, the explosion of Federal Spending and the failure to enforce the immigration laws. Perhaps if the Republicans would quit betraying their base, the base would be a little more enthusiastic about turning out to support them. Republicans though are misguided if they think they are somehow entitled to own the immigration enforcement issue. They are just as bad as the Democrats. As a conservative I am beyond furious and there are a couple of Republican Senators I plan to get even with at my first opportunity!

11/18/2005 8:58 AM  

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