Republicans Against Amnesty

What a difference a national immigration crisis makes. Republicans across the country are defying the RNC’s post-2012 dictum that GOP candidates must soften their tone on illegal immigration and line up behind comprehensive immigration reform in order to attract support from the Hispanic community.

And it’s working for many of them. It may even be the key ingredient in a Republican Senate takeover if the issue motivates turnout among the party’s base.

Just look at Scott Brown, the moderate former Massachusetts senator and New Hampshire Senate hopeful, who has made immigration a hallmark of his campaign against Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. In September, Brown told talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, “This race is about immigration.” In July, he released his first ad chastising the “pro-amnesty policies” of Shaheen, who supported the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” bill, and he has flooded the airwaves with ads since. He has given speeches saying immigration is a national-security challenge above all else and written to Shaheen stressing the need to secure the border as a national-security imperative.

Republicans say Brown’s stance has boosted him in the polls. “The key for Scott Brown on this issue was the southern-border crisis and all of these different crises between ISIS, the southern border, Ebola, et cetera; all of a sudden it becomes more about national security,” says GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. Since July, Shaheen’s lead has slipped from double digits to just five points, according to RealClearPolitics, and a Brown spokeswoman tells NRO that’s in part because the issue of immigration has hit close to home.

Read more from Ryan Lovelace at National Review Online

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Analysis & Political Strategy