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Tancredo, Angle, Whitman Lose After Anti-Illegal Immigration Campaigns

A few pieces of good news for supporters of a more inclusive immigration policy: Harry Reid beat out Sharron Angle (R), who ran a campaign that relied heavily on anti-illegal immigration rhetoric, and immigration hawk Tom Tancredo lost the race for Colorado governor.

Angle posed a serious threat to Reid, in spite of — or perhaps because of — rhetoric and advertising on immigration that frequently crossed the line into offensive territory, according to Latino groups. Angle claimed Reid supported a number of policies to help illegal immigrants and seemed to be attempting to capitalize on ethnic fears in ads that showed angry-looking Latino men set to dramatic, if untrue, statements.

Tancredo also campaigned largely on immigration policy, accusing his Democratic opponent John Hickenlooper of supporting “sanctuary city” policies that allowed illegal immigrants to stay in the country and threaten American lives. Hickenlooper won the election.

Immigrant rights advocates will also be pleased about the California governor race, where Republican Meg Whitman lost to Democrat Jerry Brown. Whitman shifted to the right during her Republican primary and received support from former Gov. Pete Wilson, the controversial figure behind California’s now-overturned Proposition 187 to exclude undocumented immigrants from state services. Whitman tried to reach out to Latino voters after her primary, but was hindered by allegations of mistreatment and illegal employment by an undocumented maid who worked for her for almost a decade.

Anti-illegal immigration governors won in a few other states, though. New Mexico’s Susana Martinez (R) emerged victorious, as did Georgia’s Nathan Deal (R) and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley (R). All three support harsher laws on immigration in their states.

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