Nation: Vulnerable Democrats Inspect Border Crossings

Posted November 16, 2007 at 6:05pm

Several freshman Democratic House Members who hold Republican-leaning seats were scheduled over the weekend to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border and examine the Border Patrol’s enforcement capabilities.

It’s probably not a coincidence.

Illegal immigration is a top issue to GOP voters, recent polls have shown, and the National Republican Congressional Committee is expected to target every Democratic Member who made this trip, which was to include stops in Nogales, Ariz., and El Paso, Texas.

Those set to make the trip included Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire, who holds Pennsylvania’s 4th district; Brad Ellsworth, who holds Indiana’s 8th; Gabrielle Giffords, who holds Arizona’s 8th; Steve Kagen, who holds Wisconsin’s 8th; Tim Mahoney, who holds Florida’s 16th; and Zack Space, who holds Ohio’s 18th.

Also scheduled to be on the trip were two-term Rep. John Barrow (D), who holds Georgia’s 12th district seat, and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), who holds the solidly Democratic 5th district but won a closer-than-expected October special election over Republican Jim Ogonowski.

Ogonowski’s strong showing in that race was credited partly to his hard-line views on border enforcement.

— David M. Drucker