LA Times editorial crowned McCain the "winner" of Arizona immigration "referendum" -- but he campaigned for at least two of the losers

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

A Los Angeles Times editorial described Arizona's 2006 midterm election results as "[a] referendum on immigration policy" and proclaimed Sen. John McCain its "winner," even though he personally campaigned for and endorsed candidates whose defeat the editorial touted as evidence of McCain's supposed victory.

A November 8 Los Angeles Times editorial, describing Arizona's 2006 midterm election results as "[a] referendum on immigration policy," proclaimed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) its "winner," even though he personally campaigned for and endorsed candidates whose defeat the editorial touted as evidence of McCain's supposed victory.

The editorial observed that Democratic candidates defeated several Republicans who opposed the McCain-supported "comprehensive approach to immigration reform that provides more visas for guest workers, modifies the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country and improves border security." As the "best illustrations" of McCain's purported victory, the editorial cited the victories of Democratic Reps.-elect Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords, "who had aligned themselves on immigration with McCain," over Rep. J.D. Hayworth and former Republican state Rep. Randy Graf, respectively, who were "both known for their firebrand stances on border security."

But in crowning McCain "the winner," the editorial did not mention that the Arizona senator campaigned for and endorsed both Hayworth and Graf over Mitchell and Giffords, as Media Matters has noted. The editorial also cited the defeat of Republican gubernatorial challenger Len Munsil, but did not mention that McCain endorsed Munsil and starred in a campaign commercial on his behalf.

From the November 8 Los Angeles Times editorial:

ARIZONA HELD A referendum on immigration policy Tuesday. The winner was John McCain.

McCain, the state's senior senator, wasn't actually on the ballot. Rather, candidates across the state campaigned for or against an idea that McCain and a few other Arizonans in Congress have championed: a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that provides more visas for guest workers, modifies the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country and improves border security.

Critics of this approach, including Republican candidates for governor, attorney general and two of Arizona's eight House seats, argued instead for sealing the borders and enforcing current immigration laws. They all were defeated, despite the frustration and anger expressed by many Arizonans about the torrent of border jumpers.

Those emotions were evident in the overwhelming support Tuesday for ballot initiatives to deny bail, curtail subsidies for education and childcare, limit civil damage awards for illegal immigrants and make English the state's official language. Voters backed all these proposals, reflecting a widespread belief that illegal immigrants impose a variety of burdens on taxpayers.

Nevertheless, voters in the state demanded a more nuanced and pragmatic solution than that being offered by the most virulently anti-illegal immigration candidates. The best illustrations came in the races for two House seats, one representing the sparsely populated border counties in southeastern Arizona and the other representing some upscale suburbs east of Phoenix. A six-term Republican incumbent, J.D. Hayworth, and a former Republican state representative, Randy Graf -- both known for their firebrand stances on border security -- lost to Democrats Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords, who had aligned themselves on immigration with McCain.

Posted In
Elections, Immigration, Immigration Reform
Network/Outlet
Los Angeles Times
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2006 Elections, 2008 Elections
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