With Election Day just a few days away, it's a good time to take a look at some of the races NumbersUSA has been monitoring and will watch closely on Election night. With most of the focus on the Presidential campaign, there hasn't been as much coverage of the Congressional elections because, primarily, the make-up of both the House and Senate will look very similar to what it does today. Still, there are 20 Congressional races that could have an impact on immigration when the 114th Congress convenes in January.
More of this year's focus will be on the Senate. With the filibuster rule (60 votes are needed to move legislation), the overall picture in the Senate really won't change much in January with the exception of which party controls the Chamber. Under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's tenure, the Democrats have brought amnesty bills to the floor while disallowing votes on most enforcement measures. Furthermore, Reid has avoided any legislation that would reduce the overall number of immigrants allowed to the U.S. each year.
HERE'S A LOOK AT TOP SENATE RACES
These are races where either candidate has a chance to win and where the outcome could affect what happens with immigration legislation in the Senate.
The letter grades are based on the recent immigration records for candidates who currently are in Congress and on the career grade for candidates who previously were in Congress. NumbersUSA's computerized and systematic grading system relies on votes on the floor and in committee and on co-sponsorship of bills. An "A" means the person nearly always supports lower-immigration policies that favor American workers in jobs and wages. An "F" means the person nearly always supports higher-immigration policies that favor foreign workers and employers who hire them.
"True Reformer" means that the candidate has taken the NumbersUSA survey and answered questions on a number of immigration issues in a way that warrants our top rating for a candidate.
"5-for-5er" means an incumbent has co-sponsored legislation to resolve all five of the issues NumbersUSA regards as the most important for immigration policy (such as ending chain migration, the lottery and birthright citizenship, while supporting local enforcement of immigration laws and national mandatory E-Verify).
NEVADA: Dean Heller (Incumbent -- A+) vs. Shelley Berkely (D+)
Dean Heller was a True Reformer in 2010 and sponsored all 5 of our 5 Great Immigration-Reduction bills when he served in the House. Rep. Berkely has served in the House since 1999. These two candidates are polar opposites when it comes to immigration. The seat has been held by Heller since 2011 when he took it over for John Ensign who resigned.
FLORIDA: Connie Mack (A-) vs. Bill Nelson (Incumbent -- D-)
Like the Nevada Senate race, Nelson and Mack could hardly be further away from each other on immigration. For example, Nelson voted for the DREAM Act amnesty in 2010, while Mack opposed it in the House. What separates this seat from Nevada, however, is that the incumbent here is pro-amnesty..
MISSOURI: Claire McCaskill (Incumbent -- C) vs. Todd Akin (A -- True Reformer)
This race has received national attention for everything but immigration. For the first half of her term, McCaskill was one of the few Democrats in the Senate to vote on our side, but that changed in 2010 with her support of the DREAM Act amnesty. Akin has completed our survey, is a 5-for-5er, and a True Reformer.
VIRGINIA: Tim Kaine vs. George Allen (B)
Former Sen. George Allen wasn't stellar but had a respectable grade during his earlier stint in the Senate. Former DNC chair Tim Kaine is running with a moderate tone, but has offered his support for the DREAM Act amnesty.
TEXAS: Paul Sadler vs. Ted Cruz (True Reformer)
Ted Cruz is a True Reformer answering YES to all 12 questions on our Immigration-Reduction Survey. Sadler has accused Cruz of using harsh rhetoric when it comes to securing the border and has expressed support for comprehensive immigration reform.
AND THE HOUSE RACES
1st Ann Kirkpatrick (C+) vs. Jonathan Paton (state A)
This is a newly created seat. Kirkpatrick had an earlier stinit in Congress. She supports E-Verify and stronger border security, but she also supports amnesty. Paton served in the Arizona legislature and supported all of the state's immigration enforcement measures.
52nd Scott Peters vs. Brian Bilbray (Incumbent -- A+ -- True Reformer)
Rep. Bilbray is chair of the Immigration Reform Caucus that was started by former Rep. Tom Tancredo. He's a 5-for-5er and a True Reformer. Redistricting has moved Bilbray from the 50th district to the 52nd district, shifting his area from a safe district to a toss-up district. Pro-amnesty groups have made Bilbray one of their top targets for defeat.
7th Ami Bera vs. Dan Lungren (Incumbent -- A)
Rep. Lungren is also a victim of redistricting that turned his district from a safe district to a toss-up district. He has a long-time grade of an A, while challenger Ami Bera supports mass amnesty and increased immigration levels.
26th Julia Brownley vs. Tony Strickland
Incumbent David Dreier (A) is retiring. Strickland is a Member of the California State Senate and has opposed efforts by the state legislature to restrict E-Verify, restrict the ability of police to enforce immigration laws, and allow illegal aliens access to in-state tuition. Brownley supports mass amnesty and increased immigration, so if she wins, the seat would be a dramatic shift from Dreier's positions.
6th Joe Miklosi vs. Mike Coffman (Incumbent -- A+ -- True Reformer)
This is the seat formerly held by Tom Tancredo, and Coffman has held it since his retirement. Redistricting has caused it to shift from a safe district to a toss-up district. Coffman is a True Reformer and a 5-for-5er, while Miklosi supports increases in immigration numbers.
18th Patrick Murphy vs. Allen West (Incumbent -- A)
Rep. West was one of the few freshmen True Reformers to stick to their promises, becoming a 5-for-5er. Murphy supports amnesty and immigration increases.
11th Bill Foster (D+) vs. Judy Biggert (Incumbent -- B)
This seat was combined as a result of Illinois losing two Congressional districts as a result of reapportionment. Rep. Biggert isn't spectacular, but there is enough difference between her record and Foster's to make this race significant.
4th Christie Vilsack vs. Steve King (Incumbent -- A+ -- True Reformer)
Rep. King is a True Reformer, a 5-for-5er, and likely, the next chairman of the House immigration subcommittee -- unless Vilsack can pull the upset. Redistricting has shifted the seat from a safe district to a toss-up district. Pro-amnesty groups are working hard to retire King.
3rd Leonard Boswell (Incumbent -- C+) vs. Tom Latham (A)
This seat was combined as a result of Iowa losing a Congressional district from reapportionment. Rep. Boswell is one of the better Democrats, but he supported the DREAM Act amnesty in 2010.
6th John Delaney vs. Roscoe Bartlett (Incumbent -- A+ -- True Reformer)
Rep. Bartlett is a True Reformer and a 5-for-5er, but redistricting in Maryland has made re-election a difficult task.
3rd John Oceguera vs. Joe Heck (Incumbent -- A-)
Rep. Heck was a True Reformer in 2010, but hasn't quite lived up to it. Still, he earned an A- as a freshman.
1st Carol Shea-Porter (D-) vs. Frank Guinta (Incumbent -- A)
Shea-Porter held this seat for two terms before falling victim to Guinta in 2010. Guinta has been a strong supporter in his freshman term, but it's likely that Shea-Porter will regain her seat.
2nd Ann McLane Kuster vs. Charlie Bass (Incumbent -- B+)
Like NH1, this seat has a history of going back and forth. Bass hasn't been as strong as Guinta, but there's a distinct difference between him and McLane Kuster who supports a mass amnesty and immigration increases.
16th Betty Sutton (D-) vs. Jim Renacci (Incumbent -- B)
This is another seat created from two old districts as a result of reapportionment. Sutton has supported the DREAM Act and opposed most enforcement efforts, while Renacci has been decent in his first term. He did, however, cosponsor a bill to increase foreign worker visas.
12th Mark Critz (Incumbent -- C+) vs. Keith Rothfus
Rep. Critz is fairly moderate on immigration, and it's a toss-up district. Rothfus narrowly loss a bid for the House in 2010 when he was identified as a True Reformer.
Visit our Candidate Comparison pages for comparison grids for every Congressional race in the country.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Tue, Nov 6th 2012 @ 5:11am EST