Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A treacherous path for Norton in GOP primary race

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 6:25 AM

Speaking to the Colorado Restaurant Association Political Action Committee last week, Republican senatorial frontrunner Jane Norton apparently announced that the country needs a "workable immigration system."

Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Well, not so fast. Former congressman Tom Tancredo, who's become a hot item on the tea party circuit, pounded Norton for delivering what he sees as a "codeword for amnesty legislation."

The Denver Daily News reports on the back-and-forth:

“This kind of pro-amnesty rhetoric is virtually identical to that of John McCain,” said Tancredo, referring to the U.S. Senator from Arizona who in 2007 pushed immigration reform that would have provided undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship. Norton’s campaign told the Denver Daily News yesterday that Tancredo’s news release was “odd” considering the former lieutenant governor of Colorado maintains an anti-amnesty platform.

“That’s absolutely not true,” Norton campaign spokesman Nate Strauch said of Tancredo’s news release. “Jane does not support amnesty, she has never supported amnesty, she has been preaching that on the campaign trail, and she’s told Tom that several times Ń so I’m not entirely sure why the congressman is concerned on the issue because Jane does not support amnesty.”

Democrats, for their part, are using the exchange to blast Norton for being caught between the tea party and the mainstream.

“Republican establishment candidate and former lobbyist Jane Norton and the grassroots, Tea Party crowd in Colorado just don’t mix,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Deirdre Murphy says in a press release.

Despite internal troubles in the GOP, Norton, a former Colorado lieutenant governor, has the luxury right now of polling ahead of both U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Andrew Romanoff, the two Democrats running for the seat.

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