Then look at the general election from 2004, where Chris Cox rolled up 189,004 votes, and his opponent John Graham (a friend of mine and a very smart guy whom the Dems would have been wise to run again this time) tallied 93,525 votes.
What to conclude? Despite massive media attention and around-the-clock boosterism from local radio flaks and know-nothings John & Ken, the candidacy of anti-illegal immigration single issue candidate Jim Gilchrist could only muster 23,237 votes –less than one third of the Graham vote in November of 2004. No “Minuteman” candidate will ever have more favorable conditions than this special election, and still the Minuteman candidate failed miserably. As will a Congressman Tancredo if he mounts a “run” for the presidency.
Hard truth: There is a small, but important anti-illegal immigrant vote. It is less than 10% in one of the most conservative Congressional districts in the country. (Gilchrist tallied less than 10% of the 2004 general election total vote of more than 290,000, even though his highly motivated, single-issue constituency was well-informed and mobilized for the special election. If that’s the best this constituency could do in the best of circumstances, it isn’t a “movement,” it is rather a small, but important “constituency,” but not an electorally decisive one.)
The key conclusions: John Campbell will be a Congressman for as long as he chooses to be (30 years?), and other GOP incumbents will study these results very closely and recognize that while there is a 5-to-10% that must be reassured on the security of the border, there is no national tide running that demands an exclusive and relentless focus on illegal immigration.
The twelve words are still the message:
Win the war.
Confirm the judges.
Cut the taxes.
Control the spending.