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In New Florida Senator, George LeMieux, an Opportunity for GOP to Mend Fences on Immigration

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Today, the Washington Independent cites our political analysis in a piece called “Immigration Advocates Eye New GOP Senator:”

Immigration advocates are wondering what the newly chosen Florida senator-to-be, George LeMieux (R), is going to mean for their campaign for immigration reform — as well as how the pick could influence how the growing number of Latino voters view the Republican Party.

Here’s what we’re thinking: the Senator’s appointment is an opportunity for the GOP to mend a few fences with Latino and immigrant voters.

With Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s appointment of George LeMieux to fill the Martinez seat, the Florida GOP is at an important cross-roads – one that could significantly affect the GOP’s relationship with a growing Latino population. With this in mind, we have a couple questions…

Will the new Senator follow Martinez’s example and push for comprehensive immigration reform, the policy supported by the vast majority of Latino voters and Americans overall?  Or will he embrace a more strident viewpoint, and further marginalize the Party at this crucial moment? Will LeMieux’s record in the Senate help or hurt the budding Crist candidacy, particularly as he does outreach to Latino and immigrant voters?