Report: Democratic governors worry AZ suit will cost votes

Liz Goodwin
July 12, 2010

Some Democratic governors are complaining that the Department of Justice's suit against Arizona's immigration law is bad politics in an election year, writes New York Times reporter Abby Goodnough. At a governors' meeting this weekend, some governors told White House officials that the suit could badly backfire on Democrats in the upcoming midterms, the Times says. The paper cited two governors who spoke anonymously.


“Universally the governors are saying, ‘We’ve got to talk about jobs.’ And all of a sudden we have immigration going on,” Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen told the Times, calling it a "toxic subject" at "such an important time."

A recent Gallup poll shows that about half of all Americans disapprove of the federal suit against Arizona. Fifty-six percent of independent voters — a critical swing constituency for Democrats in a tough election year — disapprove of the action. Americans continue to support the idea of greater state involvement in immigration enforcement, polls show, even as they also indicate strong backing for comprehensive immigration reform.

The Obama administration's suit contends that the law is an infringement on federal authority to police the nation's borders. Attorney General Eric Holder said this weekend that he is willing to bring another suit against the law if there is evidence it is leading to racial profiling, reported the Times and the Hill newspaper.

Meanwhile, Republican governors are rallying around the law. “I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that almost every state in America next January is going to see a bill similar to Arizona’s,” Republican Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska told the Times.