Three House Republicans targeted on immigration

July 18, 2013

A Democratic super PAC will begin a wave of TV ads this week targeting a trio of vulnerable House Republicans on immigration reform.

House Majority PAC will run commercials criticizing California Rep. Gary Miller, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, and Nevada Rep. Joe Heck. All three Republicans reside in districts with substantial Hispanic populations.

The group will spend $175,000 on the commercials, which will air on Spanish-language broadcast stations in Los Angeles, Denver, and Las Vegas.

The ads provide an early preview into how Democrats plan to turn immigration into a key issue in the midterm elections, with the party branding the Republicans as unwilling to embrace reform in districts where Hispanics make up a significant part of the electorate.

The spot targeting Miller says the California congressman “voted against the DREAM Act and to deport 800,000 young immigrants. He even wants to deny citizenship to the children of foreigners born in the U.S. With that record, Gary Miller is the one who needs to go.”

In Miller’s 31st District, Hispanics account for 44 percent of the voting age population. In Coffman’s 6th District, they make up 16 percent. In Heck’s 3rd District, Hispanics represent 13 percent.

“Republicans’ extreme records on immigration reform, capped off by their support for deporting DREAM Act-eligible young people, shows just how out of touch they are,” said Andy Stone, a House Majority PAC spokesman. “With the American people looking for a sensible, rational approach to immigration reform, Gary Miller, Mike Coffman and Joe Heck are offering anything but.”

Coffman, in particular, has found his immigration position under scrutiny. Just a few years after coming out in staunch opposition to the DREAM Act and in support of Arizona’s hardline immigration bill, Coffman — who’s district added a considerable number of Hispanics in the just-completed redistricting process — announced early this year that he now backs reform.

How far immigration gets Democrats in 2014 is an open question, however. According to a recent analysis by the Cook Political Report, just 24 House Republicans occupy districts where Hispanics make up at least 25 percent of the population. And, of those 24 Republicans, the majority occupy conservative districts that Democrats will have little ability to compete in. Democrats are 17 seats short of the House majority.

Republicans plan to turn the immigration issue against Democrats, saying they will cast the party as having done little to advance the cause of reform.

“The Democrats are grasping at straws. House Republicans are working on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fix what has long been a broken system, and these three members in particular are working hard in their districts to listen to the voices of their constituents, especially within the Hispanic community,” said Daniel Scarpinato, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman. “Unfortunately, Democrats ignored the immigration issue when they controlled the House, and Republicans are cleaning up their mess.”