Over the weekend, 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, said that a Republican-controlled Congress would act on immigration in the 114th Congress. What form these immigration bills take, however,could depend on the outcome of several House races. While most of the media will be concentrating on the larger picture tonight (control of the Senate), there are a number of House races that we'll be following closely that could help determine how the 114th Congress may act on immigration, if at all.
Like many of the Senate races, the following list of House races will be decided based on a number of different issues, and their outcomes won't solely determine how immigration will be considered by the next Congress. A variety of other factors, including control of the Senate, will also play a major role. But the outcome of the following races could help determine exactly how much support House GOP Leadership would have in moving something resembling their immigration "principles" from a year ago. And by no means, is this a complete list. Other House contests are sure to pop up when election results start rolling in.
* indicates incumbent candidate
Arizona 2 -- *Ron Barber (D) vs. Martha McSally (R)
With roughly half of the Border Patrol's Tucson sector, Arizona's 2nd has been a toss-up district for quite some time. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (career D+) typically took a strong position on border security and interior enforcement, but stood more with her party on the issue of work permits and amnesty. Her former staffer, Rep. Ron Barber, took a similar approach during his first term, but cosponsored H.R.15, the House version of the Gang of Eight's amnesty bill, in the current Congress. McSally, a retired Air Force Colonel, says she opposes amnesty and Pres. Obama's executive actions on immigration.
Colorado 6 -- *Mike Coffman (R) vs. Andrew Romanoff (D)
Colorado's 6th, formerly held by Tom Tancredo, has seen major changes as a result of redistricting, causing the one-time 5-for-5er Mike Coffman to completely flip on the immigration issue, supporting policies similar to H.R.15. His challenger, Andrew Romanoff, is no better, so the outcome of the race won't have much of an effect on how the House addresses immigration. If Coffman loses his seat, however, it'll be an example of a candidate becoming worse on immigration with nothing to show for it at the polls.
Georgia 12 -- *John Barrow (D) vs. Rick Allen (R)
John Barrow is one of the few Blue-Dog Democrats who survived the GOP wave in 2010. More importantly, he has the highest grade among Democrats with NumbersUSA (A-). Rick Allen, also, is strong on immigration. Just last week, he called the Chamber of Commerce a "pro-amnesty group" after their endorsement of Barrow. Unlike Colorado's 6th, this race is a win-win on immigration, but it'll be interesting to see if the Democratic Party can keep the last of its pro-American worker candidates in Congress.
Illinois 10 -- *Brad Schneider (D) vs. Robert Dold (R)
Challenger Robert Dold was elected in Congress to Illinois' 12th district in 2010 before losing his seat in 2012 to Brad Schneider in a redistricted 10th district. In his first term, Schneider embraced amnesty, adding his name to the list of cosponsors for H.R.15. Dold had a good, but not great, record in his only term in Congress, earning a B-. Dold appears to have maintained his anti-amnesty, pro-enforcement positions despite losing his seat in a more moderate district. As a toss-up district, Dold may be less inclined to be outspoken on immigration, but his votes on appropriations bills during his only term in Congress would indicate that he would be more likely to stand up for American workers than Schneider has.
Maine 2 -- Bruce Polquin (R) vs. Emily Cain (D) -- open seat
The seat is being vacated as a result of incumbent Mike Michaud's run for governor. Like Michaud, who cosponsored H.R.15, Cain has expressed support for the Gang of Eight's amnesty bill. Polquin, however, has taken a strong stand against amnesty and in support of interior enforcement. Polquin hasn't talked much about the legal side of immigration, but his position on illegal immigration seems to be in line with the state's current governor, Paul LePage, who has blocked rewards to illegal aliens.
New Hampshire 1 -- *Carol Shea-Porter vs. Frank Guinta
This seat has gone back and forth between Shea-Porter and Guinta since 2006. Simply, Shea-Porter cosponsored H.R.15, and Guinta has earned a career A grade with NumbersUSA. Guinta voted to end the visa lottery and has cosponsored the bipartisan SAVE Act that would require employers to use E-Verify and strengthen interior enforcement.
Nevada 4 -- *Steven Horsford (D) vs. Cresent Hardy (R)
Nevada's 4th is a new district created after the 2010 census, covering the Southern half of Nevada, including the Northern portion of Clark County (Las Vegas). It leans Democratic, but has come into play as Republican chances improve across the country. Horsford cosponsored H.R.15, and Hardy has partially completed the NumbersUSA immigration-reduction survey. Hardy declined to take a position on several key issues, but he did indicate that he opposed amnesty, the visa lottery, and unnecessary foreign workers, while supporting E-Verify, 287(g), and a biometric entry-exit system.
Virginia 7 -- Dave Brat (R) vs. Jack Trammell (D)
There won't be a whole lot of suspense in this race since the district leans heavily Republican. Still, the impact of the primary in Virginia's 7th could have a lasting impact on the 114th Congress. Little-known college professor, and more importantly, NumbersUSA True Reformer, Dave Brat, pulled off the major upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last spring. In all likelihood, Brat will officially become the Congressman-elect when polls close today. His defeat of pro-amnesty Cantor all but ended the possibility of a comprehensive amnesty bill passing through the House this year, and if his Sessions-like approach to discussing immigration takes root in the House, the Chamber's approach could be much different than what House leaders would like it to take.
For a full rating of all Congressional candidates, visit our Candidate Comparison pages.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Tue, Nov 18th 2014 @ 11:05am EST