Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Utah votes

Recently Republican Brian Bilbray won a seat in the House of Representatives to represent San Diego after a bitter anti-immigrant campaign. Many commentators thought the campaign was taste of what the November elections could be like and how important a tough-on-immigration stance would be.

This week, the bellwether was in Utah. U.S. Representative Chris Cannon successfully defended his candidacy for the Republican nomination for his House seat from challenger John Jacob who said Cannon was 'soft' on immigration. Cannon supports a "comprehensive" immigration reform package similar to the Senate bill and President Bush's stance. Cannon beat Jacob 56 percent to 44 percent. ''This is a big margin of victory. It says a lot about Republicans getting together and solving this problem,'' he said to the Associated Press.

Even though Cannon voted for HR 4437, the enforcement-only immigration bill in the House, he supports compromise and the proposed guest worker program. Team America, a conservative group that calls illegal immigration the most critical problem facing the nation, targeted him as a result. It spent $40,000 on radio ads criticizing him.

Cannon has represented Utah for five terms but he will face Democrat Christian Burridge, among others, in the November general election in the heavily Republican district in Utah.

What does this mean for Republicans in November? Hopefully it demonstrates that scapegoating undocumented immigrants does not pay off in the end.