December 04, 2005

The Heat Is On

Immigration Issue Helped Make Kolbe Quit Congress
by John Gizzi

“The mood on Capitol Hill is not a pleasant one,” Rep. Jim Kolbe (R.-Ariz.) said, explaining to reporters his surprise decision to retire from Congress. “I worry about that.”

But while the 63-year-old Kolbe cited what he called “divisiveness” in Washington as the chief reason for leaving the House seat he has held since 1984, more than a few pundits and home-state political opponents pointed to another reason for the moderate Republican’s exodus: his softness on the issue of illegal immigration, an increasingly volatile issue in Arizona’s 3rd District.

As the Arizona Daily Star concluded after Kolbe’s announcement: “[I]t was his support for a guest-worker program that might have prompted the strongest reaction—and disagreement—from constituents in a district that shares a border with Mexico.” Last year, illegal immigration was the basis of the primary challenge to Kolbe by state House Majority Whip Randy Graf, who drew a handsome 43% of the vote. Graf, who was outspent two-to-one by Kolbe last year, was already running hard for the 2006 primary before Kolbe decided to call it quits.

Randy Graf or Local Ray Carrol would both make excellent choices as Kolbe's replacement. I met Kolbe once on some land acess issues and I never liked him after that. Immigration will be the key issue in upcoming elections and the GOP better wake up.

The rest is here

Posted by BillyBudd at December 4, 2005 09:40 PM | TrackBack
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