Governor’s Race Could Be About Illegals

Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, April 12, 2010

Thirteen years after a federal judge struck down California’s Proposition 187, the 1994 initiative banning social services for illegal immigrants, the measure has resurfaced as a top issue in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary.

State insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has used his support for the initiative to position himself as the stronger candidate on border security, emphasizing that he backed Proposition 187–while his chief rival, former eBay Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman, did not.

During a March 15 debate, he called for cutting off “taxpayer-funded benefits for people who are here illegally. Meg doesn’t want to go that far. I support Prop. 187–she opposes it.”

Mrs. Whitman has said that she wouldn’t have voted for Proposition 187 due to concerns over removing children from the public education and health care system. {snip}

Even so, it’s Mrs. Whitman who is drawing the wrath of Hispanic activists. Her decision to name former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson as her campaign chairman has inflamed Hispanic groups that still view the former governor as the face of the anti-illegal immigration movement.

During the 1994 campaign, Mr. Wilson was the most prominent supporter of Proposition 187, which passed with 59 percent of the vote. {snip}

While Proposition 187 was never enacted, it became a rallying cry for Hispanic activists and was credited with triggering a jump in Democratic voter registration. {snip}

{snip}

His role in the Whitman campaign suggests that “she’s either completely tone-deaf or she’s decided she doesn’t need Latinos to win the primary or the general election,” Mr. Vargas said. {snip}

Given that one in three Californians is now Hispanic, he said, the Republican candidates may have miscalculated by placing so much emphasis on illegal immigration. But, at the same time, the issue remains crucial to conservative Republicans who dominate primary elections, not to mention the “tea party” activists now swelling Republican ranks.

{snip}

{snip}. A group called the Democratic Governors Association Non-Candidate Committee has launched a YouTube video and Web site calling for his [Wilson’s] removal.

“If Meg Whitman wants to earn the trust of California’s Latinos, the right thing for her to do is send Pete Wilson packing,” says the ad.

{snip}

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