Amnesty claim helps Republicans win key Senate races

Heidi Przybyla --- The Bloomberg Report 

Scott Brown catapulted his New Hampshire Senate campaign with an on-air offensive against “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants -- a strategy that he says explains why PresidentBarack Obama delayed plans to ease deportations.

Brown, a Republican, was trailing Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen by 12 points in a July poll. Now, he’s down by just two after focusing most of his broadcast ads on what he calls Shaheen’s support for allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.

The Republican focus on the issue is being played out in other close contests this year, and it’s jeopardizing Democrats’ efforts to retain control of the U.S. Senate.

“Make no mistake: President Obama plans to grant amnesty; it’s just that he will cynically wait until after the election so as not to harm Senate Democrats like Jeanne Shaheen,” Brown said in a statement.

Obama has decided to delay action until the November midterm races are over, with the White House on Sept. 6 blaming “Republicans’ extreme politicization of this issue.”

Advocates for changes to immigration law and Republicans both denounced the president’s move as politically driven. “Playing it safe might win an election,” Representative Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, said yesterday on ABC’s “This Week,” though it “almost never leads to fairness.”

“He wants to make sure and do it after the midterms when it won’t have consequence for him,” Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

For Democrats, Brown’s gains in New Hampshire are alarming, because the party has been favored to retain control of the Senate seat there.

Other Republican challengers in races the party needs to win to gain control of the Senate also began to adopt the “amnesty” theme because, they said, it was starting to work. Border and amnesty-themed ads have run in four of the nine closest elections, as well as in Kentucky, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said that Obama’s decision to delay makes the issue no less potent.

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