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June 25, 2006 08:00 AM UTC

The Tom Tancredo Effect?

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  • by: Colorado Pols

Both?parties believe that the immigration issue will help them at the polls this November. Only one party is right. Rep. Tom Tancredo, for whom illegal immigration?was?the main issue?long before it became the Republican Party’s cause c?l?bre, maybe doesn’t care who it helps. Apparently, attacking even fellow Republican incumbents?on the issue is a worthy use of Tancredo’s Team America PAC money. From the Rocky Mountain News:

Littleton’s immigration-reform firebrand insists he’s keeping his distance from the intraparty fight between longtime congressional nemesis Rep. Chris Cannon and his wealthy challenger, John Jacob.

But the political action committee Tancredo founded, the Team America PAC, has been running ads targeting Cannon. Jacob accuses the incumbent of trying to “sound like Tancredo” lately to mask a soft record on illegal immigration.

And Cannon blames Tancredo for trying to “engender fear” and meddle in his district.

“There’s a lot of personality involved here,” Cannon said in an interview this week. “What we really have going on is an attempt to use a relatively small segment of energized people to gain influence and control of maybe the Republican Party.

“The Republican Party is never going to be Tom Tancredo’s party,” Cannon said. “He’s more likely to join Pat Buchanan out there” and turn independent.

Tancredo might not agree with Cannon, but he is glad about how his pet issue – illegal immigrants – has come to dominate the Republican primary in southwestern Utah.

“We’ve already won, I think,” Tancredo said. “Those who care about the issue of immigration reform have achieved a great victory in that the incumbent, who should have a perfectly safe seat, is fighting for his life.”

There are parallels to be drawn with online Democrat activist Markos Moulitsas’ promotion of a primary challenger to Sen. Joe Lieberman. But Moulitsas and his “netroots” are not elected incumbents themselves. The question: is Tancredo’s power?growing as he attacks other Republicans, or?is he burning up what little he had?

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