Immigration Insider | 3 Weeks Out: Vitter Race Baiting, Dobbs Pulls a Whitman, Latino Vote in Flux

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Immigration Insider | Election 2010

Sharron Angle and David Vitter pull out all the stops, and stock photos, with race-baiting immigration ads. Dobbs pulls a Whitman. Fiorina hits Boxer for voting against immigration reform that Fiorina opposes. Politicos wonder: Will Latino voters turn out?

Welcome to Immigration Insider | 3 Weeks to Election 2010

NV-Sen: Sharron Angle doubles down on offensive ads. The last time Sharron Angle put out a television ad hitting Harry Reid over his immigration record, it was offensive enough to draw a rebuke from Tibi Ellis, the part-time Angle spokesperson who chairs the Nevada Hispanic Republican Caucus (as I mentioned last week). Apparently Ellis’ outrage didn’t matter to the Angle campaign, which doubled down last week with a second television ad and a direct-mail flyer. The mailer repeats the line “Harry Reid: an illegal alien’s best friend,” and shows an image of Reid weighing Mexico and “amnesty” over the U.S. and “jobs.” The new TV ad shows images of Latinos sneaking around a fence, then closes with the line “What does Harry Reid have against you?” as the camera shows a couple of white construction workers.  Both the ad and the flyer have come under heavy criticism from Latino advocates—but as the Wall Street Journal reported, Angle’s campaign is betting that Latinos won’t show up in November.

Read more about Sharron Angle’s anti-Latino ads:

LA-Sen: Vitter under fire from Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for racist TV ad. Like Angle, David Vitter has been using threatening images of “illegals” in attack ads on his opponent Mark Melancon. (In fact, Vitter and Angle have used an identical stock photo, which turns out to have been taken of Mexicans in Mexico -- oops!) His latest ad goes much further, however -- and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana is calling for Vitter to pull it off the air and apologize. The Hispanic Chamber’s Darlene Kattan decries the “Hollywood stereotypes, caricature-types of Latino workers” in the ad, which ends with the “stereotypical” immigrants pulling away in a limo while holding an oversized welfare check.

CA-Sen: Fiorina ad hits Boxer for…voting against immigration reform?  Carly Fiorina is clearly working from a different page in the Republican handbook than Vitter and Angle. Her “Vota Tus Valores” campaign, which reaches out to Latinos by emphasizing her culturally conservative positions on abortion and gay marriage, has a new Spanish-language ad on the airwaves that says Boxer “voted against immigration reform to permit our people to come here legally to work.” That’s sort of true -- Boxer did vote against the 2007 reform bill at one point, but was in the “Yea” column for the final vote.  But it’s strange that Fiorina would attack Boxer for “kind of” opposing something Fiorina wholeheartedly hates: Throughout the campaign, Fiorina has opposed establishing a path to citizenship “until the border has been secured,” and has supported Arizona law SB 1070.

It’s a problem for Meg Whitman that Lou Dobbs has a “Whitman problem.” This week’s biggest immigration scoop -- that Lou Dobbs, longtime scourge of the immigrant menace, hired undocumented workers to tend his estates and horses -- makes Dobbs’ tweeted criticism of Meg Whitman last week look a little hypocritical. But Whitman can’t be happy with the Dobbs story, given that it’s tended to remind people of her own undocumented-employee woes: It was just too easy to say that Dobbs has a “Meg Whitman problem.”

Latino voters poised to make a difference. Reporters and pundits are already making predictions about whether Latino voters will turn out in November. We suggest waiting until Nov. 3 to write that story, as there are plenty of factors at play: Latino voters are frustrated with a lack of action on immigration reform and a suffering economy, but galvanized by the Arizona immigration law and the demonization of Latinos so prevalent in many campaigns. Latino Decisions’ latest tracking poll, which came out today, suggests that the “enthusiasm gap” pollsters have identified may be tightening.  Over the last two weeks, the number of Latino registered voters saying they are “almost certain” to vote has risen from 65.6% to 74.9%, and the number who are “very enthusiastic” about voting is up 10 percentage points.  The tracking poll bears out the conventional wisdom that higher Latino enthusiasm will be good for the Democrats: They outpolled Republicans in all ten of the states that Latino Decisions provided break-outs for.

What to look for with the Latino vote:


@azcInsider Judge Bolton denies Gov. Brewer's bid to dismiss #SB1070, says plaintiffs have standing to sue.

@jorgeramosnews: I just spoke with Lou Dobbs. He insists that he didn't hire undocumented immigrants. Univision (tonight 6:30 pm- Sunday 10am)

@PresenteOrg: proud to stand with @getequal, @dreamACT & @IEquality in support of the #DREAMAct and repeal of #DADT

@aldianews: "Twisted Justice" in Shenandoah:

@LatinoPolitics Making An Effort 2 Get Out the Latino Vote w/ @votolatino @evalongoria @rosariodawson @jessicaalba @willyville #latism

@RI4A: Hey Illinois, early voting starts 2day! In Chicago? Check out @icirr's candidate forum on Sat.

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Cross-posted at America's Voice and Daily Kos.