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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Gilchrist, Hewitt, and Others 

The Claremont Institute Local Liberty blog links to OC Blog, which links to a number of items.

From Mark Krikorian:

Campbell's proportion of the vote in his overwhelmingly Republican district actually fell slightly from the October 4 open primary, while Gilchrist's rose 10 points....This despite the fact that Gilchrist has very limited skills as campaigner. Far from an endorsement of the GOP establishment's position on immigration, this should be a warning.

From Rich Lowry, quoting John Fund:

Mr. Campbell's 45% win represented a lower percentage of the vote than the 46% he had won in a "jungle" primary in a field of 19 candidates last October (the number was whittled down to five for yesterday's runoff). Mr. Gilchrest's percentage increased to 25% from the 15% he got in the October primary. The Democratic candidate won 27% in yesterday's runoff.

Columnist Robert Novak reported last week that GOP House leaders had determined "a strong showing by Gilchrist -- anything above 20 to 25 percent -- [would be] bad news for the future of Bush's immigration plan." One House member told me that with the perception that Mr. Gilchrist outperformed expectations, "members will be spooked at the thought of primary challengers or third-party candidates draining votes from them with an immigrant-bashing platform." Despite the fact that enforcement and a guest-worker program should go hand in hand, Mr. Bush's proposal is probably doomed in the House for this session of Congress.

From Hugh Hewitt:

Despite massive media attention and around-the-clock boosterism from local radio flaks and know-nothings John & Ken, the candidacy of anti-illegal immigration single issue candidate Jim Gilchrist could only muster 23,237 votes --less than one third of the Graham vote in November of 2004. No "Minuteman" candidate will ever have more favorable conditions than this special election, and still the Minuteman candidate failed miserably. As will a Congressman Tancredo if he mounts a "run" for the presidency.

Hard truth: There is a small, but important anti-illegal immigrant vote. It is less than 10% in one of the most conservative Congressional districts in the country. (Gilchrist tallied less than 10% of the 2004 general election total vote of more than 290,000, even though his highly motivated, single-issue constituency was well-informed and mobilized for the special election. If that's the best this constituency could do in the best of circumstances, it isn't a "movement," it is rather a small, but important "constituency," but not an electorally decisive one.)

The key conclusions: John Campbell will be a Congressman for as long as he chooses to be (30 years?), and other GOP incumbents will study these results very closely and recognize that while there is a 5-to-10% that must be reassured on the security of the border, there is no national tide running that demands an exclusive and relentless focus on illegal immigration.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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