Friday, June 16, 2006

The War at Home in NJ

Dan Riehl brings us the story of an Army veteran, Vince Micco, who's challenging Democrat Rep. Steve Rothman in New Jersey's 9th Congressional District. Micco is also hammering Rothman on the immigration issue:
Rep. Steve Rothman this week voted against supporting the troops in Iraq and for continued waves of illegal immigrants flooding over our nation’s borders, said his Republican challenger, Vince Micco, an Iraq War veteran.

Rothman (D-NJ 9th District) voted against a house bill that would have allocated $66 billion for the soldiers fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. ...

The bill also includes $1.9 billion in border security funds, including money to pay the National Guard to patrol the nation’s porous border with Mexico.

Micco said Rothman’s vote is an obvious sign to the illegal immigration lobby that he will do nothing to curb the flow of illegals in to the country.

“Mr. Rothman is again pandering to the illegal immigration movement. Does he want to see a flood of illegal aliens continue flowing in to the country – many of whom are criminals?”

I have found that veterans are among the citizens most angry about the immigration situation. My uncle, a Vietnam veteran, says he sees the government ignoring the needs of disabled veterans even while the Bush administration panders to illegal aliens.

Micco's got a tough row to hoe in NJ9. According to the National Journal Almanac, the district has gone 60%-70% Democrats in recent elections. Rothman got 67% of the vote in 2004. The district is 19% Hispanic, but there's no way to tell from outside the district what the feeling is about illegal immigration. The idea that "Hispanics" are a solid group is a myth. If the Hispanics in that district are middle-class and working-class Puerto Ricans -- legal U.S. citizens, working hard to make a suburban life for themselves and their kids -- it may be that they resent the fact illegal aliens from other countries are being offered amnesty.

Immigration is a wild-card issue in November -- call it the "Lou Dobbs factor" -- and it could hurt some candidates in both parties. In Ohio, Sen. Mike DeWine -- a Republican who voted for amnesty -- looks like a loser in November.

With good news coming out of Iraq now, Micco's pro-war stance may be a winner in November -- this is a basic problem for Democrats, who've pretty much bet the farm on an anti-war mood in 2006. And because Micco's in a longshot district, there's no reason he shouldn't hit hard on immigration: He's really got nothing to lose, and this issue might just be the silver bullet to take an otherwise safe Democrat seat.