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Arizona Decision Keeps Issue Alive for November

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Sen. Mike Lee leaves the Supreme Court on Monday after the justices rendered a split decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law, handing President Barack Obama a partial victory.

“Now they realize that going into a general election campaign that there are many voters, not just Hispanic voters, but independent voters, who think that is an unreasonable position, so they are saying much less about it than they did during the Republican primary,” Durbin said.

Down the ballot, Congressional Democrats hoped the ruling would boost Latino turnout in key states, as the president’s recent DREAM Act order might. Several states with high Latino voter percentages — California, Colorado, Florida and Nevada — also feature several competitive Congressional races.

In the top-tier Senate contest in Nevada, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) blasted her opponent, appointed Sen. Dean Heller, for wanting to bring the Arizona law “here to Nevada.” Like many Republican nominees in competitive states, Heller did not release a statement on the ruling. But his spokesman stated in an email that “states are frustrated with the federal government’s reluctance to enforce existing laws.”

But some GOP candidates attempted to use the ruling as a wedge in their upcoming primaries.

In Texas, former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz used the decision to attack his GOP opponent for Senate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, for killing a different “bill that would have ended sanctuary cities.” Across the country, in Michigan, former state Sen. Nancy Cassis (R), a write-in candidate, criticized her 11th district primary opponent, teacher Kerry Bentivolio, for “favoring the elimination of border controls.”

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report.

 

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