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California 50th Update: Will Immigration Issue Divide GOP Vote?

A quick update to this morning's post on the special election in California's 50th District:

In a bit of political misdirection, Francine Busby went up with an ad on conservative radio stations in the district this morning touting the tough-on-immigration credentials of William Griffith, who is running an an independent in Tuesday's special election.

"Lobbyist Bilbray isn't the candidate to secure our borders," says the ad's narrator. "You have a choice. Independent William Griffith is endorsed by the San Diego Minutemen and San Diego Border Alert because he opposes guest worker programs, amnesty and the hiring of illegal immigrants."

The commercial goes on to point out that Busby supports the position of Arizona Sen. John McCain on immigration -- "stronger enforcement at the border, better support for border agents and no amnesty." (McCain canceled a fundraising appearance for Bilbray earlier this week due to their differences on immigration.)

With both sides acknowledging that immigration is the no. 1 issue for voters in the district, the Griffith's candidacy (and Busby's attempts to buoy that candidacy) are intriguing. If Griffiths takes four or five percent of the vote on Tuesday, it will likely come directly from voters who would otherwise support Bilbray and makes a Busby victory increasingly possible.

Read this morning's post here.

-- Chris Cillizza

By Editors  |  June 1, 2006; 12:54 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: Hillary Clinton: Winning Converts in N.Y.


All U leftist scum? You'll be eating crow in 24 hours, my little gay buddies. Read 'em tomorrow & weep-- for your moronic confidence in that fat liberal Busby pig tonight.

Posted by: mnw | June 5, 2006 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Bilbray was the worst candidate who could have been the Republican candidate. Eric Roach would probably have beaten Busby, but it would have been close. But against Bilbray, Busby's going to win. Bilbray was my congressman before he moved to Virginia and then to his mother's house (should someone who's still living with his mom be sent to Congress?--that is, if he really is a CA resident). And let me tell you, he was a joke of a congressman, which is part of why he lost in 2000.

Posted by: Q | June 2, 2006 4:06 AM | Report abuse

"a moderate liberal and think the Republican's are simply awful, but you would need to be insane to vote for the Democrats given their support of amnesty. "

Mike-Don't be fooled. Several Republicans, including the President support amnesty as well.

Posted by: Jack | June 2, 2006 12:04 AM | Report abuse

As a voter in the CA 50th, I am curious as to why any voter, even a loyal Republican, would vote for Bilbray, who has such a tenuous connection to this district. He has been a Virginia resident since he left California, after losing his Congressional seat to a Democrat (it was another district to the south of the 50th). His children go to college in Virginia and qualify for "in-state" tuition there. His "residence" in the 50th is at his mother's place, which he didn't even pretend to live in until Cunningham resigned in disgrace. He has no record of ever being "tough" on illegal immigration in his previous life as a Congressman. There are plenty of voters across the partisan spectrum in the 50th who care about more than the immigration issue (the Iraqi quagmire, the deficit, the corruption at all levels in Washington to name but a few). Where have all these "tough on illegal immigration" hacks been for the past two decades? The time to address this problem, and it certainly is a big problem, was long ago.

Posted by: Beverly Jacoby | June 1, 2006 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I guess we will see if the GOP's "they have no ideas" theme has any strategic success possibilities now that a Dem has incoporated it. Busby supports the McCain/Senate bill, Griffith supports the Minutemen perspective. Is Bilbray's stance, on what I assume is the top priority in this district, merely "no" to the two competing philosophies put forth? Is that going to fly?

Frankly, I'm suprised the odd alliance between cheap labor advocates and the "shoot the illegals" crowd haven't fissured well before this.

Posted by: swb | June 1, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Remember this Tuesday's Primary is two elections for the 50th seat.

#1 is the general election to fill in thru Dec.for "Duke" who is in jail and is a General Election.
#2 is the Primary for the two year term starting in Jan. with the same cast of characters for the Dems and the Repubs.

The general election is already a didaster for the GOP unless they win by 8 points or more.

We'll have to go through this again in November's regular General Elction when a zillion $ will be spent.

Posted by: Peter L. | June 1, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, once they get that mess untangled, it still leave immigration as the #1 issue. What I cannot understand is why anyoine with an ounce of common sense would support legislation to legalize what appears o be 40 million illegal now (see Sameulson's article in the Post yesterday - I mean, once they have some sort of green card they aren't going to pick fruit for $10 a day any more. They are going to compete with millions of American workers work scarse jobs and force down wages and benefits even further. It will make an already horrible situation intolerable. I think, no matter how they spin it, politician's who voted for amnesty (which is anything other than rounding up and deporting ALL of the illegals) is going to pay and pay dearly for it. I'm a moderate liberal and think the Republican's are simply awful, but you would need to be insane to vote for the Democrats given their support of amnesty. Jobs will be the #1 issue come November and the DNC squandered any opportunity they had for taking control of the House or Senate by their rejection of American working men and women.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | June 1, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I have to say that Misdirection advertising is just a dirty trick. I know both sides do it and that it has been around for a while now but my thoughts are if you can't convince a voter that your position is the right one then you don't deserve their vote, or their vote in proxy either.

However, I think Busby is going to take this one with a few % points to spare.

Posted by: Andy R | June 1, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for mentioning that McCain cancelled a fundraiser for Bilbray.

I think McCain rejection will have an effect on Bilbray. It gives the impression that there is something wrong with Bilbray that even a Republican like McCain would not support or help Bilbray. Why vote for Bilbray, Sentor McCain wouldn't (If he were able to vote in that district). Senator McCain will not even waste his time going to see him Wednesday.

( Another possibility is McCain knows that Bilbray is going to lose and does not want to be blamed or connected to Bilbray loss. Hmmm) But, the common sense answer is McCain thinks Bilbray is a jerk and he rather see Bilbray fail than lend a hand to a jerk.

Posted by: Wells | June 1, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Tom: By misdirection Chris simply means that one candidate (Busby) is running an ad for ANOTHER candidate (Griffith) to siphon votes from a THIRD candidate (Bilbray) that Busby has no chance of getting.

In other words, Busby is seeking to push potential Bilbray voters not to her, but in the OTHER direction, to Griffith, because a Griffith vote is a non-Bilbray vote and that is good for her.

To further explain, say Busby can max out at 47 percent of the vote. That means Bilbray conceivably could get 53 percent, so Busby needs enough Bilbray voters to either stay home or vote for someone else (Griffith) and thereby keep Bilbray under her 47 percent.

Sorry for the long post but I'm an old poli sci major and I love this stuff. LOL

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | June 1, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Why "misdirection?" Is there more to the story?

Posted by: Tom Throop | June 1, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Griffith isn't running in the special election, but in the primary for the November ballot. I don't think his percentage matters all that much -- it's more important the number of Republicans who just don't vote in the primary.

Posted by: NA Rudti | June 1, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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