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After four terms of a mixed record, voters may want a change

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Loose Cannon in Utah

After four terms of a mixed record, voters may want a change

Congressman Chris Cannon of Utah apparently is in real danger of losing his seat in Congress, and apparently that’s causing him to employ extreme measures. Cannon faces serious GOP primary opposition from former state legislator Matt Throckmorton. In the Republican state convention, Throckmorton forced Cannon into a primary election happening today. Throckmorton hammered Cannon’s mass immigration stance, as well as his support for the controversial No Child Left Behind education law. Throckmorton, a solid conservative who is 100 percent pro-life and for enforcing immigration laws, has found an easy target because of Cannon’s immigration stance (Americans for Better Immigration grade: D). In Congress, Cannon is the chief sponsor of prominent amnesty legislation. H.R. 1684 would grant illegal aliens amnesty and in-state tuition to American colleges, while H.R. 3142 would legalize up to 3 million illegal aliens working in agriculture and their relatives. To reverse his political odds heading into the primary, Cannon aide Marco Diaz said on Spanish-language radio May 22 that illegal aliens should give U.S. citizens money to donate to Cannon’s campaign. According to the Deseret Morning News, the aide solicited political donations from illegal aliens — even though foreign nationals are prohibited by law from making such political contributions and soliciting foreign donations is illegal. Cannon has claimed that later in the program he “clarified† that illegal aliens may not make such donations, though a partial transcript does not confirm that claim. Also, Cannon operatives may have repeatedly cast votes in an on-line poll on the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News websites. According to ProjectUSA, the poll’s logfiles showed hundreds of votes coming from two computers, voting for Cannon over Throckmorton regarding truthfulness on the amnesty issue over several days. One of the computers, that of Cannon’s district director Dee Dee Rose, is registered with the house.gov domain name. Throckmorton has caught Cannon in denial that his legislation is “amnesty.† By plain language, the bills would grant legal status to aliens violating U.S. immigration laws. The agricultural amnesty bill would reward illegal aliens with the very jobs they are breaking the law by holding. Yet, Cannon has continuously sought to parse the definition of “amnesty† in a way that excuses his legislation from being labeled as such. In addition, Cannon has engaged in a smear campaign against mainstream immigration groups. He has tried to paint reformers as front groups for proabortionists by compiling an array of snippets and innuendoes that he publicized in a March 24 press release. Cannon attacked two groups in a March hearing of the House Immigration Subcommittee. The heads of the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA, who were testifying before the subcommittee, stated flat-out that their groups do not take positions on life issues and focus solely on immigration. Neither organization nor their heads advocates coercive population control policies, sterilization, abortion, eugenics or euthanasia, as Cannon implied. Yet, Cannon has not retracted his guilt-by-association-based charges. Cannon’s own ties to anti-life groups are a lot clearer, more recent and more intimate than any of those of his victims at the hearing. For example, open-borders advocacy groups aggressively backing Cannon’s AGJOBS amnesty bill as part of a coalition include groups such as People for the American Way that are on the record as favoring abortion. PAW openly advocates for death-to-the-unborn policies and the eradication of religion from the public square. PAW — along with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and other, extremely liberal advocacy organizations — filed an amicus brief in the Massachusetts case seeking to destroy traditional marriage via judicial fiat. While today will show Cannon’s fate, the Republican who wins that nomination in Utah’s third congressional district will likely win in November. After four terms of a mixed record and Cannon’s conduct in this campaign, voters may decide it’s time for a change.

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James Edwards is coauthor of "The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform."

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