This year, if you are a Democratic congressperson who voted for the federal health care law, didn’t call loudly enough for tough new immigration laws or supported the stimulus act – then voters feel as though you have a lot of explaining to do.
Three of the five Democrats who represent Arizona in Congress are in serious trouble this year. Polls show Democrats Harry Mitchell, Gabrielle Giffords and Ann Kirkpatrick are running neck and neck with their Republican challengers.
Each of those Democrats is running in a district that is split fairly evenly – neither Republicans or Democrats have a wide voter registration advantage. And each of them supported those unpopular policies, which is now coming back to hurt them on the campaign trail.
But perhaps the most revealing indication of just how big the Republican wave could be in Arizona is the race in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. Incumbent Democrat Raul Grijalva seems to be in a fairly tight race in what has been a Democratic stronghold ever since the district lines were drawn.
Republican newcomer Ruth McClung has gained a lot of traction this year by running an anti-establishment campaign, and she is presumably getting a big boost from Grijalva’s announcement earlier this year calling for the boycotts against Arizona after the state immigration law was passed.
The fact that Grijalva’s race is even close illustrates how significant the Republican movement is in this state – and it shows how voters are reacting to politicians who are soft on immigration.
- Matt Bunk