Establishment Republicans have said that GOP candidates cannot win races in swing districts, especially against strong Democrats, by firmly opposing amnesty.
In what could be a bellwether for November, Republican David Jolly won a special election House race in Florida’s 13th congressional district on Tuesday night by doing just that in a district that was not favorable to him. President Barack Obama won it twice and his chief opponent, Alex Sink, the last Florida Democrat to win statewide, won it in her failed gubernatorial campaign in 2010. In addition, when Jolly was trailing in the polls by three points, the Republican establishment started to throw him under the bus the weekend before election night.
As Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project observed, the “notion that we must support amnesty to remain viable is clearly laid to waste by this victory in a Florida swing district” and “ if running as a conservative on the issues, including the issue of immigration, is a pathway to victory in an Obama +4 district, imagine the results in a district Romney carried by 10, 20, or 30 points.”
“But don’t expect the wizards of smart within the Republican Party establishment to ever consider that the reality of the immigration issue might be in conflict with their conventional wisdom,” he pessimistically wrote. “There is too much money invested in that fallacious premise.”
During the campaign, Sink was for amnesty and even said the country needed it so people like her could hire cheap labor.
“Immigration reform is important in our country,” Sink said. “We have a lot of employers over on the beaches that rely upon workers and especially in this high-growth environment, where are you going to get people to work to clean our hotel rooms or do our landscaping? We don’t need to put those employers in a position of hiring undocumented and illegal workers.”
Jolly called Sink’s comments “disgusting,” and he was also the only candidate of the three (a potential libertarian spoiler got 5% of the vote and failed to tip the race to Sink) in the race who was against amnesty.
“We are a loving and caring nation, but we are also a nation of laws, and it is important that those who have broken the law recognize that,” Jolly said at a debate. And he also ran a commercial that declared that he was for “stronger borders. Not amnesty.”
As Breitbart News has reported, despite the efforts of the bipartisan permanent political class to ram through amnesty, two national polls (ABC News-Washington Post, NBC News-Wall Street Journal) in recent weeks have found that Americans are more likely to vote against candidates who support amnesty than for them.