first_img State Sen. Tom McClintock, who is running for lieutenant governor, called the Senate bill “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and said he opposed it. He accused President George W. Bush of failing to protect U.S. borders and said illegal aliens should be deported. “There’s nothing radical about that,” said McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks. Former Assemblyman Tony Strickland, running for state controller, said he also opposes “amnesty.” Strickland, who represented the Thousand Oaks area, said he is not familiar with the details of the various bills in Congress, but said he might support a guest worker plan along the lines of the old Bracero program. Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Granada Hills, running for state treasurer, also would support a guest worker program, and believes undocumented immigrants should be given some path to legalization, said his chief of staff Dan Pellissier. But, Pellissier said, “they should not be advantaged over people who have been following the rules all along.” As for the 2008 elections, Pew Hispanic Center spokesman Gabriel Escobar said it’s too soon to tell what impact the immigration issue will have. “A lot of it depends on how successful people are in blaming one party,” he said. “If there’s a perception that one part is more punitive than the other, that can have an impact,” he said. In 2004, 18 percent of Latinos voted, compared with 51 percent of whites and 39 percent of blacks, according to the center. Nuñez said he believes Latino voters will increase “dramatically” thanks to the issue and predicted they will be decisive in 2008. “All of this has been a wake-up call to the Republican Party. You can’t pander to the right by picking on immigrants,” he said. In the next presidential election, he maintained, “Latinos will be a determining factor.” Lisa Friedman, (202) 662-8731 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Mobilized by the divisive national debate on illegal immigration, Latino voters in California could topple Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November and deal serious blows to other statewide GOP candidates, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez said Wednesday. In Washington to lobby the U.S. Senate for legislation that would legalize America’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, Nuñez said Schwarzenegger already alienated Latino voters by supporting the Minutemen volunteer border patrol project. “I think the governor is, at this point, trying to walk a tightrope,” Nuñez said. But Katie Levinson, spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign, said the governor’s support among Latinos remains strong. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event “It’s unfortunate that Speaker Nuñez chose to launch blatant political attacks while visiting Washington, D.C.,” Levinson said. “The governor will continue the record of strong support in the Latino community based on a shared commitment on a variety of issues,” including comprehensive immigration reform. Nuñez’s visit came as the Senate opened debate on legislation beefing up border security while creating a program that would allow 400,000 low-skilled foreigners into the country annually and to stay in the U.S. while applying for green cards. California Republican analyst Allan Hoffenblum agreed with Nuñez that statewide GOP candidates run the risk of alienating Latino voters on immigration. “The problem that too many Republicans have is that they come across too shrill. They come across as anti-Mexican,” Hoffenblum said. “That’s what they have to be careful about. We in California know what happens when you come across as too shrill. You lose elections.” Republican candidates for statewide office offer a range of positions on illegal immigration. last_img