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May 18, 2006
The Pattern On The Kyl Amendment

One of the interesting aspects of the immigration debate is how much of it gets influenced by electoral politics, even in subtle ways. Take, for instance, the defeat of the Kyl amendment that would have ensured that the temporary guest workers that came to the US remained ... temporary. The Senate tabled the amendment (in the US, this means defeating it) by a vote of 58-35.

A number of Republicans voted to kill the Kyl amendment, including Minnesota's Norm Coleman, a disappointing performance. Other notables are Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Sam Brownback, and Ted Stevens. Practically the entire contingent of the GOP faction in the Gang of 14 voted to kill the amendment except for Lindsay Graham, who managed to miss this vote.

More interesting, however, are the Democrats who voted to support Kyl's amendment. They were Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. All three hail from red states, and two of the three face re-election in states that went for George Bush in 2004. The only Senator of these three not facing elections in November is Byron Dorgan, whose partner voted against the measure. The other red-state seats at risk are Bill Nelson in Florida, where the Democrats want to court the Hispanic vote, and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, which has the same dynamic and where Bush only won by a single point.

If the Democrats in these states fear a conservative backlash, shouldn't the GOP start paying some attention to the same problem?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 18, 2006 10:37 PM

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