Chris Chmielenski's picture


  by  Chris Chmielenski

We know the White House's position will change dramatically when Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20, but what kind of Congress will he have to work with? While dozens of House and Senate seats were up for grabs on Tuesday, most of the seats rated as toss-ups were held by Republicans, and Trump's win minimized the loses. Democrats managed to flip six seats, but in only one of the six was there a clear difference between the two candidates on immigration.

In non-competitive House races, three True Reformers won on Tuesday night. Incumbents Lamar Smith of Texas and Walter Jones of North Carolina both won re-election, and Jim Banks won the open seat in Indiana's 3rd District.

Two more NumbersUSA True Reformers won competitive House seats on Tuesday night. Republican Tom Garrett defeated Democrat Jane Dittmar in Virginia's 5th, and Republican Jason Lewis defeated Democrat Angie Craig in Minnesota's 2nd. Lewis will take over the seat currently held by Rep. John Kline. While Kline has a B career grade, he's earned a less than worthy F grade in the current Congress driven by his support for fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership and voting for the expansions of the H-2B program and the refugee resettlement program. Garrett's win in Virginia isn't as straightforward. The courts redrew the state's Congressional districts affecting both Virginia's 4th and 5th Districts. Both seats are held by Members who have career A-minus grades -- Randy Forbes and Robert Hurt. While True Reformer Garrett replaces Hurt's seat, Democrat Donald McEachin won Virginia's 4th. McEachin is a strong supporter of a Gang of 8 style amnesty bill.

In New Hampshire's 1st District, Republican incumbent Frank Guinta lost to Democrat Carol Shea-Porter. Guinta completed the NumbersUSA immigration-reduction survey and was rated as a True Reformer. Shea-Porter earned a D-minus grade during her earlier tenure in Congress and cosponsored the House version of the Gang of 8's amnesty bill (H.R. 15) during the 113th Congress. Her support of amnesty may have contributed to her losing the seat to Guinta in 2014, so she may be more cautious on the issue during the next Congress, knowing the volatility of the seat.

In Arizona's 1st, True Reformer and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu lost to Democrat Tom O'Halleran. Tom O'Halleran supports increasing border security, but also supports amnesty for illegal aliens.

There was a significant pick-up in Florida's 2nd District. Democrat Gwen Graham, who earned an F grade during her only term in Congress, decided not to run for re-election in 2016. Republican Neal Dunn defeated Democrat Walter Dartland. Dunn is strong on stopping illegal immigration and opposing amnesty, but he hasn't said much on legal immigration. Dartland, on the other hand, supports amnesty.

Three GOP incumbents with strong immigration-reduction grades held on to their hotly contested seats. Lee Zeldin won New York's 1st, David Young won Iowa's 3rd, and Rod Blum won Iowa's 1st. Zeldin is the best of the three, earning an A-grade during the current Congress. Blum and Young have earned a B+ and B, respectively.

On the Senate side, the only two incumbents to lose their seats were Mark Kirk of Illinois and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Both supported -- and ran on -- amnesty for illegal aliens and an expansion of legal immigration. It obviously didn't help either one. Ayotte's opponent had a mixed history on immigration. As a former state legislator, she voted against ending sanctuary cities, and as governor, she criticized the Supreme Court's non-decision on Pres. Obama's DAPA amnesty. But she was also the only Democratic governor in the country to express concern over resettling refugees from terror-sponsoring nations in New Hampshire.

Conversely, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Roy Blunt of Missouri held onto their Senate seats in key swing states. All three have been solid on the immigration issue, and Johnson has been a key ally as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director, Content & Activism for NumbersUSA

Updated: Fri, Nov 25th 2016 @ 9:55am EST

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