In a sign of just how turbulent the politics of immigration are, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) canceled a recent visit to San Diego for a Bilbray fundraiser. McCain and Bilbray are both Republicans but they are at odds on a Senate immigration bill that would allow millions of illegal immigrants in the US to eventually become citizens.
Bilbray opposes the measure; McCain is a chief proponent.
The DCCC's Bill Burton offers this to The Note this morning: "I stipulate only that this has been one of the most unexpectedly competitive races in congressional history. The panic shivers that Francine Busby has sent down wobbly GOP spines has caused them to spend north of $5 million in a reliably Republican seat. In an election cycle that is shaping up to be a change vs. the status quo contest, Busby has shown that a strong change message can make even former members of Congress vulnerable in ruby red Republican districts."
More Burton: ". . . the question remains whether or not they can spend $5 million on safe Republican seats and still have enough to hold on to endangered incumbents like Gerlach, Pryce and Shaw."
Republicans point to 125,000 combined phone and door-knock contacts in the district as well as to 52% of the returned absentee ballots coming from Republican voters as hopeful signs for Bilbray.
As we have reported previously, there are about 150 GOP staffer/volunteers on the ground and more than 400 combined Democratic staffer/volunteers.
The Bilbray-Busby race to replace Republican former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham may be a test that measures the level of voter discontent with both the Republican leadership and border security, Notes USA Today's William Welch. LINK
The Associated Press on the old-school mudslinging that will end today: LINK
David Drucker of Roll Call reports that in California two candidates and their parties are using all their resources to gain victory as Cunningham's replacement. Busby has "pushed ex-Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) to the limit in the special election runoff that was forced by Cunningham's resignation." Democrats say the NRCC has spent almost $ 5 million dollars to defend Rep. Cunningham's seat whereas Democrats have spent about $2 million.
Per the AP's Allison Hoffman, some Democrats are already claiming victory just by forcing a fight for the seat in a "surprisingly close House race." LINK
Griffith is the Minuteman-backed candidate who videotapes people hiring day laborers along El Camino Real to discourage people from hiring illegal immigrants.
The Schwarzenegger Era:
What could end up being the most expensive gubernatorial primary in state history will occur today. State Treasurer Phil Angelides (D-CA) and State Controller and former Ebay executive Steve Westly (D-CA) are in a statistical dead heat heading into primary day. The winner will have the perhaps dubious honor of taking on a Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been quite successful at rehabilitating his once-awful standing with the California electorate. The Steve Schmidt 2008 Primary basically begins today.