| Central Valley Congressman has strong opponents
by Brian Leubitz
Jeff Denham has made some waves over the past 36 hours as he became the first Republican Congress member to sign on to the House Democrats immigration reform proposal.
A Republican congressman from a heavily Hispanic district is breaking ranks from his party to join Democrats in an eleventh-hour push for a broad immigration overhaul before the end of the year. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) plans to sign on as the lone GOP member with 185 Democrats to co-sponsor a plan that would give millions of unauthorized immigrants the chance to attain citizenship.
A handful of House Republicans have expressed support for citizenship legislation similar to the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate over the summer. But Denham is taking the additional - and politically provocative - step of locking arms with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democrats trying to neutralize opposition from House conservatives and shake up a polarized immigration debate.(WaPo)
Denham has a strong challenger in Michael Eggman and some lagging poll numbers after the shutdown. He needs a change in the conversation from the disaster that the Republicans brought down upon the country. Immigration is a pivotal issue in a district with a strong Latino voter base, and Denham has never been a true believer in the rightwing on this front, so this is something of a fit. But it is a fit that was almost preordained by the politics.
But, at this point, a lot is still needed to make immigration reform actually happen. And even if there is some political cynicism at work, at least it is going the right direction.