If you haven't gotten the idea that illegal immigration has supplanted the Long War as a hot-button issue, this may provide further proof. Not five minutes after I put last night's post to bed, I got an e-mail presser from Senator Pipkin's campaign:
Harris Supports Illegal Immigrants
Politicians can say anything. Andy Harris believes he can tell the voters anything and get away with it. In an effort to pull the wool over the eyes of Republican primary voters and convince them that he has conservative credentials, Andy Harris says and does anything to win votes.
But no matter what he says, his record speaks loud and clear.
In 2003, Andy Harris voted to allow illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition. Harris sided with the illegal immigration lobby and voted for HB253. This bill would have allowed illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition. Pipkin campaign manager Mike Brown points out, "Harris likes to talk tough on the campaign trail. The reality is he flip flops more than John Kerry. Does 'I voted for it, before I voted against it' sound familiar?"
Since entering the congressional race, Harris has tried to fool voters into believing he is tough on illegal immigration. "Once again, Harris is just not being truthful with the voters. He voted to give people who sneak into our country the same rights as hard working Maryland families," Brown added.
By contrast, EJ Pipkin has consistently voted against allowing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Pipkin has a record of being strong on the issue even before he decided to run for Congress in the 1st District.
During the 2007 Special Session, Pipkin sponsored a two-pronged approach to take action against illegal immigration. He introduced legislation that would deny in-state college tuition as well as driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Second, to establish a measure of fiscal responsibility, he also introduced legislation to force the State of Maryland to assess how much illegal immigrants cost the taxpayers."The more people scrutinize Harris' record the more they realize he and his campaign will say anything to distort the record. I fully expect them to try and deny that they voted for this bill," stated Brown.
I'm sure the timing was coincidental, but to become more informed I looked up the bill in question. Originally it was intended for immigrants, but later was amended by State Senator Pinsky to include returning servicemen. Harris voted for the third reading of the Senate bill that included the amendments (while Pipkin voted no) but both voted against the bill after the House/Senate conference committee dropped one amendment. Eventually the measure was vetoed by Governor Ehrlich anyway.
It's the nature of legislation which leads to "gotcha" votes on certain issues. One could take Pipkin's vote against the legislation as proof he was unfriendly to veterans' interests as well.
Also in my e-mail box today I got this message. But I'm going to play a game with it as you'll see.
With only (a time period) to go though, we still have a lots of work to do to overcome (another candidate's) organization and his negative attacks. He has outspent us ... and nearly everyone I meet has seen one of his negative and false attack ads about me or has received a desperate piece of direct mail from his campaign that makes me sound like I should be run out of (a geographic area).Doesn't that sound like the First District? It's actually from Mike Huckabee and talks about Mitt Romney's Iowa campaign. Here's what it really says:
In political consultant lingo, (my opponent's) campaign is trying to "define me" for voters. The thinking goes, if you run enough negative attack ads, people will begin to believe what they hear and will decide to stay home on (election) night. It is an old trick in politics and probably one of the worst. Wouldn't it be better if (my opponent) spent his energy and money trying to define himself?
With only days to go though, we still have a lots (sic) of work to do to overcome Governor Romney's organization and his negative attacks. He has outspent us 20 to 1 and nearly everyone I meet has seen one of his negative and false attack ads about me or has received a desperate piece of direct mail from his campaign that makes me sound like I should be run out of Iowa all of the way back to Arkansas.
In political consultant lingo, Governor Romney's campaign is trying to "define me" for voters. The thinking goes, if you run enough negative attack ads, people will begin to believe what they hear and will decide to stay home on Caucus night. It is an old trick in politics and probably one of the worst. Wouldn't it be better if Governor Romney spent his energy and money trying to define himself?
By the way, would someone teach Huckabee's writers a bit more grammar? It's not the first example of poor proofreading I've come across from their camp.
But back to my main point. Another old political trick is for people who have been in the game for a number of years to try and define themselves as "outsiders" who have the deck stacked against them. This is what Huckabee's attempting to do here (since the e-mail also came with a financial appeal.) Personally, I'm trying to define the candidates based on the issues.
Speaking of that, I think early next week I'll do my evaluation of how E.J. Pipkin stands on the issues compared to his opponents. It's not going to be easy because he doesn't have a whole lot on his website to go by but I'll do my best.
And as I alluded to yesterday, I did hear from Andy Harris's campaign regarding polling. I can reveal that their job performance numbers on Wayne Gilchrest aren't nearly as bad as Pipkin's, at least in the unfavorable category. (While it's still leaning unfavorable, the margin is under 10 points.) They also claimed that Pipkin's numbers were significantly lower in their survey a week before, and questioned how he could gain that much on his poll number in such a short period.
Most astute observers of the political world know that a good campaign press person is paid to blow sunshine up the collective skirts of the media. I'm sure the Gilchrest team has a third set of numbers that they haven't revealed outside their campaign but they're using their figures to plot strategy too. Honestly, I'm not wild about the negative tone that the First District campaign's taken but negativity seems to appeal to the voters who think they can do things better than their man in Washington so campaigns use the tried-and-true to get their point across.
Crossposted on monoblogue.