When Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) announced plans to employ a rarely-used procedural measure to compel House leadership to hold votes on immigration bills, few believed the effort was anything more than tactical political decision, particularly in a 40 percent Latino district, made weeks before his June primary.
With the primary and his rogue amnesty movement over, it would appear that Denham overestimated the support in the House and, more importantly, in his district for open-border policies.
Although the 10th congressional district has a strong Hispanic presence, a poll released to Breitbart News by Pulse Opinion Research found that 60 percent would support amnesty for illegal aliens only if there were a reduction in overall immigration and mandatory E-Verify.
Furthermore, less than 30 percent of Denham’s constituents said they would support a full-fledged amnesty for illegal aliens that did not include benefits for Americans. Conversely, a majority of the district would limit amnesty only to illegal aliens enrolled in the DACA program and also support lowering legal immigration levels.
The Californian’s fight for reelection was always going to be tough, but it was even closer last month. Denham won the 2014 Primary with 59 percent and the 2016 Primary with 48 percent. Denham may have overplayed his Hispanic special-interest hand as pushing a discharge petition pushed away the majority of voters in his district who want real immigration enforcement.
Denham did manage to come in first his June 2018 primary, but only with 37.7 percent of the vote, which represents a more than 10-point drop from the last cycle. And it may have been the discharge petition move that turned voters away.
“But his advocacy of a discharge petition to force a House vote on a compromise bill may have driven conservatives into the arms of pro-Trump, pro-wall Turlock Councilman Ted Howze [Republican], who nearly ‘shut out’ a crowded Democratic field on Tuesday,” noted the non-partisan Cook Political report.
Denham’s general election opponent will be Josh Harder, a Democrat who earned just 16 percent in the primary, so the vulnerable Republican may not be done yet. However, his decision to challenge House leadership on an issue unpopular in his own district should make other amnesty supporters think twice before they make a similar gamble.