After largely avoiding immigration as a wedge issue in competitive races, Republicans are suddenly hitting Democrats for supporting “amnesty.”
President Obama’s decision earlier this month to delay any executive action on immigration until after the midterms has given national Republicans a new way to tie Democrats to the unpopular president.
However, some GOP strategists worry the approach risks further alienating the party from Hispanic voters they would need in 2016 to win the White House.
“Short term, it’s an entirely different electoral landscape,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who advised Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential bid. “What looks good today might not look good tomorrow.”
GOP ads on immigration have hit Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (La.), who all voted for the Senate’s bipartisan reform bill last year. They have also targeted Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn, who also support a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally.
The ads are sprinkled with images of President Obama, linking him to the Democratic candidates, and they have the potential to move the needle for the GOP, as they look to capture six seats for Senate control.