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Six Republican Incumbents in Danger of Losing Their Seats: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Ohio

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12100459 (posted Oct. 5, 2012)"




New Hampshire


Illinois 8th: Joe Walsh* (R) vs. Tammy Duckworth (D)
This race has become a flash point for the press as two outspoken candidates, a newly drawn district and attention from the two national parties have pushed both campaigns onto the national stage. The current incumbent, Joe Walsh was swept into office two years ago as part of the "Tea Party" wave and has often been critical of Republican leadership in the House. Duckworth gained national attention when she secured a primetime spot at the Democratic national convention and highlighted her service as a disabled veteran of the Iraq war. This is just one of several Illinois seats that Democrats are hoping to take back from Republicans come this November.

Joe Walsh campaign site
Congressman Walsh on "comprehensive illegal immigration reform"

Tammy Duckworth campaign site
From a candidate questionnaire: "Yes, my father's family came to America before the Revolution and fought for Independence, but my mother is an immigrant who became a citizen in her 50s. My mother and millions of other legal immigrants have followed the rules. Their hard work and love of this country made us the strong, diverse nation we are today. Comprehensive immigration reform must be fair, practical and humane.

We need a pathway to citizenship. People who came here illegally should step forward, pay fines for violating our laws, pass a criminal background check, learn some English and pay their full share of taxes owed. They also must not be convicted of a felony. If an immigrant meets all of those requirements while continuing to be gainfully employed, he or she should be allowed to pursue legal status. The fines paid by those seeking legal status could pay for the investment required to process the requests and ensure cases are handled quickly and fairly.

I support the DREAM Act. I am very proud that Illinois was the first state to pass our own DREAM Act legislation. If a child from an immigrant family is brought here at a young age, grows up in this country and is willing to work to make this country better, he or she should be able to pursue legal status. U.S. citizenship is a precious thing and there must be a pathway for people to legally pursue that goal. I believe that it is in our nation's interest to have these young people become citizens and add to our economic growth, especially since they have already enjoyed free K-12 education at the expense of the American taxpayers."

Illinois 10th: Bob Dold* (R) vs. Brad Schneider (D)
This November both parties are going to be eyeing five close races in Illinois. Democrats are looking to take back seats that Republicans overtook in the Republican wave in 2010 and will be helped by a redistricting map that was controlled by state level Democratic elected officials. This race will be in Chicago's northern suburbs, a district of upscale and working-class communities once represented by Mark Kirk, a moderate Republican who is now a U.S. senator. Both candidates are touting their middle of the road stances, but Republican Bob Dold has raised almost twice as much money as Democrat Brad Schneider, but look to see the national Democratic Party to pour some money into this race closer to Election Day.

Bob Dold campaign site
From a candidate questionnaire: "The federal government must lead on immigration. First, we must control our borders so we know who is coming into our country and to stem the flow of illegal immigration. We must also create a more efficient process for dealing with our legal immigration program so that those here legally can more efficiently become citizens. I do not believe it is realistic or logical to think we can send home the 11-12 million immigrants who have come here illegally, and we need a bi-partisan effort to find solutions. The goal of reform should be to allow those individuals who want to work and pay taxes without taking public benefits the ability to work toward legal status, and to rid our country of law-breakers or those who merely want public benefits. Any reform legislation must include enhanced border security to protect American citizens, first and foremost."

Brad Schneider campaign site
From his campaign site: "Rather than working to secure the border or fix our broken immigration system, this Tea Party Congress continues to play politics and kick the can down the road. We need comprehensive immigration reform because the federal government has failed to do its job. Our border must be secured in a way that promotes the practice of legal immigration. A strong border is necessary for any reform package to be effective.

I applaud the President for taking steps to prevent children from being punished for the failures of politicians. The DREAM Act is another essential part of comprehensive immigration solutions. Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school. With the DREAM Act, we can start to provide legitimate pathways to citizenship through either college or military service for the many immigrants who were brought here as small children."

Iowa 4th: Steve King* (R) vs. Christie Vilsack (D)
All four of Iowa's seats are proving to be competitive this election cycle and this one is no different. AILA members should be particularly interested as the incumbent Rep. Steve King is the Vice-Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and unfortunately often runs counter to most of AILA's policy recommendations. Although this is a close race three new polls were released recently that show the incumbent with a lead over Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack in Iowa's new 4th Congressional District. This is the toughest election that Rep. King has faced in his six Congressional campaign and Christie Vilsack is attempting to use many of King's controversial statements to gain traction in the polls.

Steve King campaign site
From his campaign site: "Immigration policy must be designed to enhance the economic, social and cultural well being of the United States. I believe we have an obligation to address our growing illegal immigration problem. We must enforce the laws already on the books, which includes completing the border fence along our southern border.

In 2006, funding was authorized to complete 854 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing. To date, only 346 miles of pedestrian fencing, 298 miles of vehicle fencing and 34 miles of secondary fencing has been completed.

I also believe we have to cut off the welfare and job magnets to illegal immigrants. I have introduced H.R. 3580, the New Illegal Deduction Elimination Act or New IDEA, which is legislation that would make wages and benefits that are paid to illegal immigrants non-deductible for federal income purposes. This legislation would make it less attractive and more costly to hire illegal immigrants over Americans. New IDEA would ensure that American jobs are going to American workers by immediately reducing America's unemployment and result in the hiring of millions of unemployed Americans by cracking down on employers and illegal workers and leveling the playing field for law-abiding American employers and employees.

I am adamantly against amnesty, which is to pardon immigration lawbreakers and reward them with the object of their crime. A pathway to citizenship does exactly that. There mere discussion of granting citizenship to those who have rejected the Rule of Law by entering our country illegally only encourages more illegal immigration."

Rep. King statement on DACA:
"Americans should be outraged that President Obama is planning to usurp the Constitutional authority of the United States Congress and grant amnesty by edict to 1 million illegal aliens," said King. "There is no ambiguity in Congress about whether the DREAM Act's amnesty program should be the law of the land. It has been rejected by Congress, and yet President Obama has decided that he will move forward with it anyway. President Obama, an ex-constitutional law professor, whose favorite word is audacity, is prepared to violate the principles of Constitutional Law that he taught."

Christie Vilsack campaign site
From a news article on a candidates' debate: "Vilsack said she agreed the borders must be secured and legal citizens should have the first chance to get jobs. But some immigrants, such as those willing to die for their country in the military, should have an opportunity for a path to citizenship, she believes. Immigrants are important to Iowans who produce hogs and eggs, and have dairy operations, and they should be welcomed here, Vilsack added. She also said there is no question the nation needs comprehensive immigration reform, explaining, 'I am willing to get into a room and compromise."'

Minnesota 6th: Michele Bachmann* (R) vs. Jim Graves (D)
Michele Bachman catapulted onto the national stage delivering the Tea Party response to the State of the Union in 2011 and running in the Republican Presidential Primary less than a year ago. So it's come as a surprise to many that she is currently struggling to keep her House seat. Democrat Jim Graves' biggest victory to date has been to keep the Independence Party (almost 10% of the electorate) out of the race, even if they haven't outright endorsed him as their candidate. Although Bachmann has been able to fundraise almost five times as much as Graves, many are predicting that he will use his considerable personal wealth to help bolster his campaign.

Michele Bachman campaign site
From her official Congressional site: "While the United States has always been known as a nation of immigrants, it is also a nation founded on the rule of law and our immigration policies must reflect that. As a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, I will continue to work for real immigration reform that enforces our laws and secures our borders.

I believe that strengthened enforcement of our nation's immigration laws is a key requirement in the recovery of the American job market. The E-Verify program has been proven to be 99.9 percent effective in determining an applicant's eligibility to work in the United States. Making participation in the E-Verify program mandatory will hold employers accountable for the eligibility of persons they hire.

Because I believe in maintaining the family, I support amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow only the spouses and children of legal immigrants (not extended family members) priority consideration in the immigration process. This would honor the rule of law and protect families at the same time.

Additionally, I cosponsored H.R.787, the "No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act of 2011" to ensure that illegal immigrants would not be reaping the benefits of our Social Security system. I cosponsored H.R. 1134, the "Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act" to forbid special federal funds from going to cities that prohibit enforcement of immigration laws."

Jim Graves campaign site

New Hampshire 2nd: Charles Bass* (R) vs. Ann McLane Kuster (D)
In 2006, after 12 years representing this district, moderate Republican Charles Bass was defeated by his Democratic opponent, but that didn't last long. He reclaimed his seat in the Republican wave of 2010 and is prepared to defend it again against the Democrat he only beat by 3,550 votes two years ago, lawyer Ann McLane Kuster.

Charles Bass campaign site
From his campaign site: "Our nation was built by immigrants that came to this country seeking the American Dream and a better way of life. Today we still need to welcome those looking to come to our country and it is a rewarding experience when my office is able to help an individual and their family navigate the complicated immigration process. However, it is vital they come here legally. Illegal immigration is a violation of our laws and we cannot pursue policies that reward those who broke the law and are here illegally. He opposes any amnesty in any form. He supports securing our borders and strengthening our employment verification program through the expansion of the E-Verify system. He also believes we must reform our current visa process to reduce the red tape and bureaucracy so we can attract the world's best and brightest to our country."

Ann McLane Kuster campaign site
On the DACA announcement: "Today's announcement from President Obama represents a very positive step forward. The fact that we will no longer be punishing young immigrants who are here in our country through no fault of their own and are eligible students is a move that we should all be proud of," Kuster said. "That these children will no longer have to hide in plain sight in the only country they have known as home, represents a very positive change in our immigration policy."

News video clip on Kuster's response to immigration

Ohio 6th: Bill Johnson* (R) vs. Charlie Wilson (D)
These two candidates are very familiar with each other as they host a rematch of their battle in 2010. Charlie Wilson is hoping to get his seat back from current Representative Bill Johnson by tying him to efforts to ship jobs overseas. But the Republican national party has come in on Rep. Johnson's side and is ramping up their efforts to secure his seat.

Bill Johnson campaign site
From his official Congressional site: "For far too long the federal government has failed Americans when it comes to an immigration policy that actually works. As a member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, I have learned just how broken our immigration system is. First and foremost, we should secure America's borders before we begin a discussion on how to fix our broken immigration system. Unfortunately, the lack of sound immigration policies and failures of Washington bureaucrats to enforce existing immigration laws has led to illegal immigrants wrongfully taking advantage of benefits such as tax credits, social security, Medicare, and jobs. These benefits, which are reserved for U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens alone, are being used as incentives to enter our nation illegally, and policies must be set in place to remove these incentives for illegal immigrants. It's time for the federal government to stop failing the American people and come up with an immigration policy that actually works."

Charlie Wilson campaign site

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