Cameron Joseph, The Hill, March 6, 2013
A pro-immigration Republican super-PAC led by former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez could support primary challenges against GOP lawmakers who take a hard line on the issue.
Gutierrez, the head of the newly formed Republicans for Immigration Reform, told The Hill that his group’s main push will be to give cover to Republicans who support immigration reform.
But if anti-immigration Republicans face their own primary challenges, Gutierrez said, he’d take a hard look at spending against them as well.
“We focus primarily on ‘take the vote now and we’ll support you.’ Those who don’t take the vote who get attacked by primary challengers who would have voted for it — that’s a very interesting question,” he said. “That’s also a possibility.”
Gutierrez was one of former President George W. Bush’s main surrogates on the failed immigration talks six years ago.
He also led Mitt Romney’s Hispanic outreach efforts in the 2012 presidential race, though after the election he was highly critical of Romney both for his harsh rhetoric on immigration and the campaign’s failure to spend more time trying to win over Hispanic voters.